Indians rally for 8-6 win over Pirates, could host playoffs

The Cleveland Indians could be staying home for the first round of the postseason

Via AP news wire
Sunday 27 September 2020 23:42
Pirates Indians Baseball
Pirates Indians Baseball

The Cleveland Indians could be staying home for the first round of the postseason.

Carlos Santana had four RBIs and delivered a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh inning as the Indians rallied for an 8-6 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday to put themselves in position to gain home-field advantage for their AL wild-card series.

The Indians need the Chicago White Sox to lose to the Cubs to move into second place in the AL Central and fourth in the AL on the final day of the regular season.

The Pirates held a 6-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth, when Franmil Reyes belted a three-run homer that chased starter JT Brubaker.

Nik Turley (0-3) entered for the seventh, hitting César Hernández with a pitch and giving up a double to José Ramírez before Santana plated them both to put Cleveland ahead 7-6. A sacrifice fly by Reyes drove in Santana, who hit a two-run homer in the third.

James Karinchak (1-2) struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh for the win and Brad Hand got four outs for his AL-high 16th save in 16 opportunities.

Ramírez, a leading AL MVP contender, went 2 for 3 with two doubles and two runs.

Pirates rookie Ke’Bryan Hayes singled in the first and homered in the third, becoming the first Pittsburgh player with eight straight hits since Andy Van Slyke in 1994. The 23-year-old was intentionally walked in the fifth to reach base for the 10th consecutive plate appearance.

Hayes finished 2 for 4 and batted .376 (32 for 85) after making his major league debut on Sept. 1.

José Osuna went 3 for 3 with two RBIs and two runs, belting a solo homer in the fifth when Pittsburgh scored twice. Two of the Pirates’ runs were unearned on errors by Santana and shortstop Francisco Lindor.

The Indians (35-25) returned to the playoffs for the fourth time in five years after failing to qualify in 2019, when they were 93-69 and placed second in the division.

The Pirates (19-41) finished with the worst record in the majors under first-year manager Derek Shelton. They went 69-93 last season and were last in the NL Central.

LEADER OF THE PACK

Indians RHP Shane Bieber, who will start their postseason opener, topped the majors with a 1.63 ERA and 122 strikeouts. His ERA was the lowest in the AL since Luis Tiant posted a 1.60 mark for Cleveland in 1968.

Bieber also shared the big league lead with eight wins, tying Yu Darvish of the Cubs. The 2019 All-Star Game MVP became the first Indians pitcher to win the AL pitching Triple Crown since Bob Feller in 1940.

NICE GESTURE

Pittsburgh activated C Andrew Susac from the taxi squad after he spent all season at the team's alternate training site in Altoona, Pennsylvania. The 30-year-old last played in the majors with Baltimore in 2018.

“This kid has been with us all year and was a leader in Altoona,” Shelton said. “We wanted to give him an opportunity today.”

Susac received extended cheers and a standing ovation from the Pirates’ relievers when he first came up to bat.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Pirates: C Jacob Stallings (concussion) was placed on the seven-day injured list and RHP Keone Kela (forearm) was transferred to the 45-day IL. Stallings was struck by a backswing Saturday, but played the entire game.

UP NEXT

Pirates: Spring training opener on Feb. 27 against the Red Sox in Fort Myers, Florida.

Indians: AL wild-card series against an undetermined opponent on Tuesday. Bieber (8-1, 1.63 ERA), RHP Carlos Carrasco (3-4, 2.91 ERA) and RHP Zach Plesac (4-2, 2.28 ERA) will be their starters.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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