Cleveland, OH, United States (4E Sports) – Scott Kazmir pitched seven shutout frames with 10 strikeouts while Michael Brantley smacked a two-run homer as the Cleveland Indians completed a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros with a 4-1 win Saturday at Progressive Field.
Kazmir allowed four hits with a walk to raise his record to 9-9 as the Indians strengthened their grip on the second American League Wild Card spot, grabbing a one-game lead over the Texas Rangers.
The Indians also have seven games to overtake the Tampa Bay Rays in the standings and sure the AL Wild Card game is played in Cleveland. The Rays won Saturday as well, remaining a half-game ahead of the Indians.
For the 20th time of his career and third time this season, Kazmir reached double-digit strikeouts. He hadn’t punched out 10 or more hitters on three occasions in one season since 2007.
Houston (4-6) right-hander Paul Clemens gave up eight hits in 4 2/3 innings, with three walks and four strikeouts to absorb the loss as the Astros (51-104) dropped eight in a row.
Kazmir quickly got through the top of the first, needing just seven pitches to retire the side before Michael Bourn doubled and Nick Swisher singled to start the bottom of the inning.
Bourn came home on a sacrifice fly by Jason Kipnis, and after Carlos Santana made an out, Brantley stepped to the dish and slugged a two-run homer to right field. The long ball was Brantley’s ninth of the season and first since Aug. 9.
Cleveland added a run in the fourth, which began with Yan Gomes’ double down the left -field line. On the next pitch, Lonnie Chisenhall yanked an RBI single into right.