Indians 6, Devil Rays 0
C.C. Sabathia pitched eight scoreless innings, Travis Hafner homered and the Cleveland Indians, who lost the AL Central title to Chicago earlier in the day, stayed tied for the wild-card lead by rolling to a 6-0 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Thursday night.
In salvaging the series finale, the Indians snapped a three-game losing streak that helped the White Sox hold onto their dwindling lead and clinch the division. Cleveland is tied with the Boston Red Sox atop the wild-card standings with three games left.
Even if they sweep three from the White Sox this weekend, the Indians won't win the division crown. But they would take the wild card.
"When the White Sox were 15 games ahead, we were looking at the wild card anyway," Sabathia said. "Now, it's up for grabs."
Sabathia (15-10) allowed five hits and improved to 9-1 in his last 11 starts as the Indians ended Tampa Bay's five-game win streak at Jacobs Field. He walked two and struck out nine to improve to 6-1 in seven career starts against Tampa Bay.
Hafner and Ronnie Belliard hit two-run homers in the first inning off Casey Fossum (8-12) and Jhonny Peralta hit a solo shot in the third as the Indians enjoyed an easy night in the midst of the season's most pressure-filled week.
Hafner connected for his 33rd homer and Belliard hit his 16th, putting the Indians up 4-0 and giving them their first lead of the series.
The Indians went ahead 5-0 in second and Peralta made it 6-0 an inning later with his 24th homer, the most in one season by a Cleveland shortstop. The leadoff shot broke Woodie Held's team record set in 1961.
Peralta's homer also gave the Indians 50 in September, tying a club mark set in 1950 and matched in 1997.
With Sabathia and Cliff Lee (18-5), the Indians have two left-handers with 15 wins for the first time since 1940 when Al Milnar (18-10) and Al Smith (15-7) did it.
Tampa Bay's Julio Lugo and Carl Crawford became the ninth set of teammates since 1900 and the fourth since 1925 to have at least 180 hits and 35 steals in one season. The last duo to do it was Cleveland's Roberto Alomar and Omar Vizquel in 1999.