Jose Ramirez (L) and Carlos Santana (C) each homered in the Cleveland Indians' win over the Chicago White Sox on Monday at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Jose Ramirez gave the Cleveland Indians an early lead with a first-inning home run before Carlos Santana plated the go-ahead runs with a fifth-inning homer to spark a 7-4 win over the division-leading Chicago White Sox.
The victory Monday at Progressive Field in Cleveland cut the Indians' magic number to one, which means they need a win or a Seattle Mariners loss to clinch a spot in the 2020 MLB playoffs.
"I just looked for my pitch and tried to make good contact," Santana told reporters. "I wasn't thinking about a home run."
Santana went 1 for 3 with two RBIs, a run scored and a walk in the win. Ramirez went 2 for 3 with three RBIs, two runs scored and a walk. Francisco Lindor and Cesar Hernandez had two hits apiece for the Indians. Josh Naylor went 3 for 4 in the victory.
Indians starter Aaron Civale got out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first inning before he got some run support in the bottom half of the inning. Lindor began the half-inning with a single to right field. Hernandez then knocked another single to center field.
Ramirez then stepped into the batter's box to face White Sox starter Dane Dunning. The right-handed pitcher fell behind 3-1 in the count before Ramirez ripped his fifth offering to right field for a 392-foot, three-run homer.
The blast had an exit velocity of 106 mph and left the field in 4.6 seconds, according to Statcast.
Hernandez returned to the plate for an RBI single in the second inning to give the Indians a 4-0 lead. The White Sox responded with a four-run fifth inning to tie the score before Santana delivered his big blow.
White Sox pitcher Jace Fry came in to relieve Dunning to start the bottom of the fifth inning. Fry struck out Hernandez before he walked Ramirez. Santana then stepped into the batter's box.
The Indians first baseman earned a 2-0 lead in the count before he fouled off a sinker. He then launched a 2-1 sinker to left field for a 401-foot homer. The two-run shot gave the Indians a 6-4 lead.
Franmil Reyes brought in the Indians' final run with an RBI sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Nick Wittgren, James Karinchak and Brad Hand combined for a tremendous Indians bullpen effort. The trio allowed just one hit and had seven strikeouts and did not allow a run over the final three innings. Hand picked up his 14th save of the season.
Civale allowed eight hits and four runs in six innings to move to 4-5 on the season. Dunning allowed six hits and four runs in four innings, but was not on the record for a decision.
"That's probably one of the most-potent lineups in Major League Baseball," Civale said of the White Sox. "I just went out there and stuck to a game plan to attack them.
"I was a little too cautions early with the walks, but got back into it and trusted my stuff [pitches]."
Eloy Jimenez went 3 for 4 with a home run, two RBIs and a run scored for the White Sox. White Sox second baseman Nick Madrigal also had two hits in the loss.
The Indians (30-24) host the White Sox at 6:10 p.m. EDT Tuesday at Progressive Field. They trail the first-place White Sox by 1.5 games in the American League Central.
The White Sox (34-20) have a tentative hold on the No. 2 seed in the American League and are on track to face the Indians in the wild card round.
Miami Marlins players celebrate with a team photo on the mound after defeating the New York Yankees 4-3 and clinching a playoff birth in New York City on Friday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo