Minneapolis, MN, United States (4E Sports) – Veteran Ubaldo Jimenez pitched 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball as the Cleveland Indians clinched the first American League Wild Card with a 5-1 triumph over the Minnesota Twins Sunday at Target Field.
Jimenez allowed five runs with a walk and a career-high tying 13 strikeouts as the Indians finished the regular season with their 10th straight win, earning them a spot in the postseason for the first time since 2007.
Cleveland became only the sixth team since 1900, and the first since the 1971 Orioles, to end a campaign with at least 10 wins in a row. The Tribe also finished September with 21 wins for the first time since the 1948 season.
With a four-game sweep of the Twins, the Indians also became the first team in the Major Leagues to complete seven series sweeps of at least four games since the St. Louis Cardinals accomplished the feat in 1943.
On Wednesday, the Indians will face the winner of Sunday’s tiebreaking game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers.
The winner of Wednesday’s Wild Card Game will face the AL East champion Red Sox in a best-of-five AL Division Series, beginning Friday at Fenway Park.
Scott Diamond (6-13) earned the loss after allowing four runs – two earned – on seven hits with three strikeouts for the Twins, who finished with a 66-96 record for the second straight season.
Michael Bourn led off the first with a single before Nick Swisher followed with his 22nd homer run of the season for a 2-0 Indians lead.
A trio of errors by the Twins in the sixth helped Cleveland tack on two unearned runs and Carlos Santana added some insurance in the seventh with an RBI double.
The Twins’ only breakthrough against Jimenez came in the seventh, when he allowed three straight singles to pave the way for a Minnesota run.