Indians rock Astros 9-2 for another 4-game sweep

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 22, 2013
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Michael Brantley and Michael Bourn had two RBIs apiece as the Cleveland Indians, clinging tightly to a wild-card spot, became the first team in 52 years to post six sweeps of a four-game series in a season with a 9-2 win Sunday over the Houston Astros. The Astros lost their season-high ninth straight. Brantley hit a two-out RBI single in the fourth inning off Erik Bedard (4-12) and Bourn tripled in a four-run sixth as the Indians maintained their slim lead over Texas in the AL wild-card scramble with one week left. Carlos Santana homered for Cleveland. According to STATS, the Indians are the first team since the 1961 New York Yankees to sweep six four-games series. The Yankees went on to win the World Series that season. Corey Kluber (10-5) dodged trouble throughout 5 1-3 innings and the Indians improved to 50-18 against teams with losing records. Chris Carter homered for the Astros, who fell to 51-105 and are two losses from matching the club record set last season. Leading 3-2, the Indians broke it open in the sixth, highlighted by Bourn's standup triple off reliever Philip Humber. Bedard, who has lost nine of his last 10 decisions, gave up a leadoff single and hit a batter before Brantley chased the left-hander with an RBI single to make 4-2. After Aviles sacrificed, Bourn brought in two more runs with his shot into the right-field corner. Nick Swisher followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 7-2, giving the Indians their first comfortable cushion in four days against a Houston team that fought hard but made far too many mistakes. Poor attendance has been an issue all year for the Indians, but a crowd of 26,168 - their largest for any Sunday home game this season - turned out to push the Indians toward October. With just one week left, every game is vital for the Indians, who haven't made the postseason since 2007. They needed to sweep the Astros and did so, but it wasn't easy. At this point in the season, nothing is. Cleveland would seem to have the easiest path to October among the current wild-card leaders, with six games left against teams with losing records. The Indians have two home games against the Chicago White Sox before four to end the season at Minnesota. Texas will host Houston three times and then conclude the regular season with a four-game set at home against the Los Angeles Angels. Tampa Bay, which leads the wild-card race, will finish a wraparound series Monday with Baltimore and then go on the road for three games at Yankee Stadium and three in Toronto. Down 2-0 and unable to do anything against Bedard through three innings, the Indians scored three times in the fourth to take the lead. Santana hit an RBI double and both Brantley and Aviles came through with clutch two-out singles to put the Indians ahead. It's nothing new for Brantley, who came in batting .339 with 26 RBIs in two-out situations and runners in scoring position. Carter opened the second with his 29th homer, a towering shot onto the home-run porch in left. Carter's 29 homers are the most by a Houston player since Lance Berkman hit that many in 2008. NOTES: Indians RHP Justin Masterson, out since Sept. 2 with a strained oblique muscle, was scheduled to throw a simulated game after the series finale. The team is being cautious with Masterson, but there's a chance he could pitch in relief later this week or start in the postseason if the Indians qualify. ... Astros bullpen coach Dennis Martinez received a warm ovation when he was shown on the scoreboard in the second innings. ''El Presidente'' pitched for the Indians from 1994-96. ... The Astros will end their inaugural season in the AL with three games in Texas before hosting the New York Yankees for three.
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