ANAHEIM, Calif. -- It does not seem to matter who they are playing, where they are playing or even who is in the lineup. The Cleveland Indians just keep winning.
But the Indians won again, completing a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels with a 4-1 win Thursday afternoon at Angel Stadium.
Francona had considered giving shortstop Francisco Lindor a day off as well, knowing he had started 149 of the club's 152 games before Thursday. But Lindor got the call and responded with a decisive three-run home run in the fifth inning that lifted Cleveland to its fifth consecutive win.
It also was the Indians' 27th win in 28 games, and their 15th straight victory on the road. The major league record for consecutive road wins is 21, held by the 1983-84 Detroit Tigers (four wins to finish the 1983 season and 17 to start 1984).
Having wrapped up the American League Central crown, the Indians have their eyes on catching the Dodgers for the best record in the majors and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and World Series. The Dodgers also won Thursday and remain one game up on the Indians.
The loss for the Angels was their fourth in a row and another blow to their playoff hopes. It's their longest losing streak since they lost six in a row in April and, more importantly, they fell two games behind the Minnesota Twins in the race for the second wild card, pending the result of the Twins' game against Detroit Thursday night.
The Angels, like they did in the previous two games of the series, had their opportunities. Down 4-1 and facing Indians reliever Andrew Miller in the seventh, Los Angeles loaded the bases on two walks and a single with one out.
But Miller struck out C.J. Cron and Martin Maldonado to get out of the inning.
Things started out promising for the Angels, as they took an early lead. Mike Trout walked with one out in the first inning against Salazar and scored on Albert Pujols' two-out double.
The Indians tied the game in the second on a solo homer by Edwin Encarnacion, his 37th of the season, off Angels starter Parker Bridwell.
The game remained tied at 1-1 until the fifth, when Lindor's homer turned the game in the Indians' favor. But the inning was set up by a couple of balls that hit the gloves of Angel defenders before falling in for hits.
Leading off the inning, catcher Yan Gomes hit a pop up to shallow right-center. Center fielder Trout, second baseman Brandon Phillips and right fielder Kole Calhoun converged, with Calhoun trying to make the catch but the ball bounced off the heel of his glove and fell in.
Giovanny Urshela then hit a line drive that shortstop Andrelton Simmons tried to catch with a leap, but the ball deflected off the top of his glove and landed in left field for a single.
After Erik Gonzalez hit into a force play on a failed sacrifice attempt, Lindor made sure it didn't matter, crushing a 91-mph fastball from Bridwell over the fence in center.
Bridwell (8-3) got the loss after giving up four runs on five hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings. Following Salazar, the Indians used five relievers to finish the game, Tyler Olson pitching the ninth for his first save.
Zach McAllister (2-2) pitched 1 2/3 innings to get the win, giving up no runs, no hits and one walk.
NOTES: The Indians rested regular starters 2B Jose Ramirez, CF Jason Kipnis and LF Austin Jackson, with 2B Erik Gonzales, CF Greg Allen and LF Abraham Almonte starting in their places. ... Angels DH Albert Pujols' RBI double in the first inning increased his season RBI total to 98. With two more RBIs he will join Alex Rodriguez as the only players in major league history to have 14 100-RBI seasons. Pujols also had 99 RBIs in 2011 with St. Louis and 95 in 2015 with the Angels. No player has had 15 100-RBI seasons.