MINNEAPOLIS -- Cleveland did not officially clinch a postseason berth with Saturday's 5-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins, but the Indians guaranteed themselves at least a spot in a playoff for a wild-card berth.
Behind six strong innings from Scott Kazmir and some timely two-out hitting, the Indians moved a step closer to reaching the postseason for the first time since 2007.
With Cleveland's victory and Tampa Bay's loss at Toronto on Saturday, the Indians will enter the final day of the regular season in the first American League wild-card spot, a game ahead of the Rays and Texas.
Cleveland will clinch a wild-card berth with either a victory Sunday against the Twins or a loss by either Tampa Bay or Texas. If Cleveland loses and both the Rays and the Rangers win, the three teams would enter a three-team, two-game playoff to determine the two wild-card participants.
The Indians would host the Rays on Monday. The winner of that game would earn a wild card while the loser would play at Texas on Tuesday, with the winner of that game earning the other wild-card spot.
Kazmir (10-9) played a large role in the Indians moving to the verge of the postseason. He allowed one run on six hits over six innings while striking out 11. Kazmir never got in any real trouble and gave up a lone run when the Twins put together three singles in the bottom of the fourth.
The Cleveland offense was slow to get going as Twins starter Cole De Vries (0-2) retired the first 11 Indians he faced. But the Indians got going from there.
Jason Kipnis singled up the middle with two outs in the top of the fourth. Carlos Santana followed by launching a De Vries pitch over the right-field wall. Santana's 20th homer of the year gave Cleveland a 2-0 lead.
Cleveland used some more timely two-out hitting to build its lead an inning later. After Yan Gomes and Mike Aviles singled, Michael Bourn ripped a triple off of the right-field wall that drove in two runs. Two batters later, Kipnis drove in Bourn and gave the Indians a 5-1 lead with a single.
After scoring a lone run in the fourth, the Twins managed only three base runners the rest of the game.
NOTES: The start of the game was delayed 2:26 because of rain. ...
Ubaldo Jimenez (12-9, 3.38 ERA) will start for Cleveland on Sunday as the Indians try to secure a wild-card berth. Minnesota will counter with Scott Diamond (6-12, 5.54). ... The victory was Cleveland's 40th since the All-Star break, equaling the number that the Indians recorded in 2008. ... This was Kazmir's third victory this season over the Twins. ... The loss means that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire will not reach 1,000 victories this season. With Gardenhire at 998 wins, the Twins needed to win two of three games this weekend for their skipper to reach that mark. ... Cleveland DH Jason Giambi left the game after five innings because of left forearm cramping and is listed as day-to-day.
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