CLEVELAND – Carson Fulmer pitched five strong innings in a matchup against Corey Kluber, Kevan Smith drove in two runs, and the White Sox beat the Cleveland Indians, 2-1, on Saturday night.
Cleveland clinched the best record in the American League earlier in the day when Houston lost to Boston. The AL Central champions will play the winner of the wild-card game between the Yankees and Twins in a division series.
Michael Brantley had a pinch-hit single in the fifth for Cleveland, marking his first game action since spraining his right ankle Aug. 8. The
two-time All-Star worked Fulmer (3-1) for a 10-pitch at-bat before sharply singling to right.
Smith doubled off Mike Clevinger (12-6) in the sixth, scoring Avisail Garcia for a 2-1 lead. His RBI single in the fourth off Kluber scored Jose Abreu.
Kluber capped his résumé for the AL Cy Young Award with five innings of one-run ball, lowering his ERA to an AL-best 2.25. He struck out three and threw only 81 pitches in his final postseason tune-up.
Kluber finished the season with an 18-4 record and 265 strikeouts. He made a strong case in September for a second Cy Young Award while Boston’s Chris Sale was inconsistent.
Fulmer allowed a run and three hits for the Sox, who are 13-9 since losing four in a row to the Indians from Sept. 4 to 7. The right-hander ended the season with a flourish, posting a 2-0 record with a 1.56 ERA in his past four starts.
Juan Minaya tossed a perfect ninth for his ninth save. Matt Davidson and Abreu also had two hits apiece for the Sox.
Francisco Lindor accounted for Cleveland’s lone run with a fielder’s choice in the fifth. The Indians are 32-4 since the start of their AL-record 22-game winning streak on Aug. 24.
White Sox: LF Nicky Delmonico (left shoulder strain), who was injured Friday while diving for a ball, was sent back to Chicago for additional tests.
Indians: C Yan Gomes (right hand) was hit by a pitch in the fifth, but remained in the game. His right wrist was broken by a pitch last September.
White Sox: RHP Chris Volstad allowed six runs over five innings in a 9-3 loss to the Angels on Sept. 26. It was his first start in the majors since 2012 with the Cubs.
Indians: RHP Josh Tomlin wraps up the regular season by making his 26th start. He is 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA in three appearances against the White Sox this year.
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