Player of the Game
Ubaldo Jimenez allowed a hit in the first inning, but didn't allow another base runner through the next five. He may have had his best stuff of the whole season, saved up for the final game. His 13 strike outs were a career high and he struck out batters for six outs in a row in the fifth and sixth innings. In the end, he allowed a single run on five hits, guiding the Indians to their most important win of the year.
Things couldn't have started much better for the Tribe in this almost must win game. Michael Bourn lead the game off with a single on the first pitch and Nick Swisher promptly brought him back home with a two run home run to left. Clete Thomas almost caught the ball that barely cleared the fence, but couldn't get a hold of it until it bounced out of the flowers past the outfield wall.
After earning their early lead, the Indians took advantage of Twins mistakes to add to it in the sixth. Carlos Santana reached on an error after which, Ryan Raburn was safe on a Bermuda triangle single. A sacrifice bunt by Asdrubal Cabrera then went bad when Scott Diamond threw the ball into right field, allowing Santana to come home. The Indians scored one more time on a sacrifice fly for the last run of the inning, but the Twins weren't done as Trevor Plouffe completely missed a ground ball to third for the Twins third error.
Ubaldo Jimenez continued his second half dominance with another great start today. He has been the best starter in the American League since the All-Star break, ending the season with a 1.82 second half ERA. In September he has been even better, keeping an ERA of 1.09. He has also increased his K-Rate, striking out 46 batters in his final five games.
With the sweep of the Twins, the Indians have now swept seven four game series in 2013 (and three in September). This is a new team record and the best in all of baseball since 1943 when the Cardinals matched the feat. Of course, this has a lot to do with opportunity as the Indians had a ton of four game series this year, including two that they lost to Detroit, one they lost to Boston and splits with Baltimore and Kansas City in addition to the sweeps.
The Indians won ten in a row to end the year and they needed every single one of those wins. The Tribe finished with the slimmest of margins ahead of the Rays and Rangers, allowing them to guarantee a place in the Wild Card game and to keep home field advantage for that game.
The Indians will be returning to the play-offs for the first time since 2007 with the first Wild Card in team history! Congratulations to Terry Francona, Chris Antonetti and everyone else involved with this outstanding season.
Michael Bourn was caught stealing second in the ninth inning when he pulled up lame about ten feet from the base. The extent of the injury is unknown, but the Indians will have to hope it doesn't effect him more than then next few days, as the Indians won't play again until October second.
Final Scoreboard Watch: The best situation for the Tribe today would have been both Tampa and Texas losing so they would have to play a one game play-off in order to get to the Wild Card game, wasting their top pitcher early. The Rays won their match against Toronto to secure a play-in game, while the Rangers game ended after the Indians finished.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 5 – Minnesota Twins 1