CLEVELAND (AP) — With one sweet swing, José Ramírez pushed the Cleveland Indians in the playoffs and strengthened his case for the AL MVP award.
Ramírez hit a three-run homer with two outs in the 10th inning, giving Cleveland a 5-3 win over the Chicago White Sox that clinched a postseason berth Tuesday night.READ MORE: New Illinois Laws To Protect Sex Crime Victims' Privacy Take Effect Jan. 1
Ramírez’s drive to right off José Ruiz scored César Hernández and Francisco Lindor, setting off a wild celebration at home plate as the Indians reached the postseason for the fourth time in five years.
Lindor had pulled Cleveland within one on a two-out double that plated Roberto Perez, who began the inning on second base. After Matt Foster (5-1) walked Hernández, Ruiz entered and gave up the game-ending drive.
AL Central-leading Chicago lost for the fourth time in five games, creating a log jam at the top of the division. Minnesota is in second and Cleveland is just three games back.
Aces Lucas Giolito of the White Sox and Shane Bieber of the Indians face off Wednesday night.
Chicago grabbed a 3-1 lead with two runs in the top of the 10th against Phil Maton (3-3). Adam Engel tripled home James McCann, then scored on Nick Madrigal’s single.
White Sox manager Rick Renteria and shortstop Tim Anderson were ejected by umpire Ángel Hernández after Luis Robert looked at a called third strike in the 10th.
Ramírez, making a late push for the MVP award, has 12 home runs and 26 RBIs in his last 24 games.
Hernández hit a solo shot in the first and Chicago tied it in the sixth when José Abreu connected against Adam Plutko, sending a drive to right-center for his 19th homer.
Abreu leads the AL with 56 RBIs and 74 hits. He is second in homers and third with a .332 batting average.
White Sox starter Reynaldo López worked five innings, allowing three hits and striking out three. The right-hander has one victory in his last 10 nighttime outings.
Right-hander Cal Quantrill gave up one hit in four scoreless innings for the Indians, becoming the ninth Canadian-born pitcher to start for the franchise. The most recent was Denis Boucher in 1992.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Cloudy Overnight With Snow Flurries For Some
Chicago loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but Madrigal hit a comebacker to Plutko, who turned it into an inning-ending double play. It was Plutko’s first appearance since Sept. 10.
The game featured three MVP candidates in Abreu, Anderson and Ramírez. Anderson went 1 for 4, dropping his average to .353.
Indians manager Terry Francona missed his 41st game as he recovers from gastrointestinal surgery and blood-clotting issues.
Indians right-hander Triston McKenzie, who won his major league debut on Aug. 22, has been moved to the bullpen in preparation for the first round of the playoffs. The 23-year-old prospect went 2-1 with a 3.68 ERA in six starts.
“I think he can bring velocity out of the bullpen,” acting manager Sandy Alomar Jr. said.
White Sox: C Yasmani Grandal (right hand bruise) was not in the lineup, but struck out as a pinch hitter in the 10th inning, one day after being struck by a foul ball off the bat of Tyler Naquin.
Indians: RHP Jefry Rodriguez (right shoulder strain) is on the 45-day injured list and will not pitch again this season. Cleveland has only made three IL moves since setting its roster on July 23.
White Sox: Giolito (4-3, 3.53 ERA) has not logged a decision in two starts against Cleveland this season, posting a 1.38 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 13 innings. Giolito is expected to start Chicago’s first postseason game.
Indians: Bieber (8-1, 1.74 ERA) makes his 12th and final start of the regular season. The 2019 All-Star Game MVP leads the AL in wins, ERA and strikeouts with 112. Bieber is widely considered the Cy Young Award favorite.MORE NEWS: View Live Radar
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