The Chicago White Sox would enjoy nothing more than to spoil the playoff hopes of the Cleveland Indians when the two rivals clash Tuesday to open a short two-game set at Progressive Field.
The Indians, though, have owned the White Sox this season to the tune of a 15-2 record with a 6-1 mark in Cleveland. They are one game ahead of Texas for the final wild card berth in the American League and one game behind Tampa Bay for the first spot. They still have an outside chance at an AL Central title, sitting 4 1/2 games behind the Detroit Tigers.
Cleveland has won nine of its last 11 games and just swept a four-game set versus the Houston Astros, culminating with Sunday's 9-2 pounding. Jason Kipnis had three hits and scored a run and Carlos Santana homered for the Indians, who put the game out of reach with four runs in the sixth inning.
"We're in a fun spot," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We have to keep winning. It's a fun way to come to the ballpark."
Corey Kluber started for the Tribe and allowed two runs across 5 1/3 innings, while seven relievers were needed to keep Houston off the scoreboard.
The Indians are slated to close out the season with four games at Minnesota, but first will send Ubaldo Jimenez to the mound Tuesday. Jimenez is 3-0 in his past four starts and did not receive a decision in Thursday's 2-1 win over Houston, as he fanned nine batters and gave up a run in seven innings.
Jimenez did not walk a batter and has issued just three free passes in his previous five outings. Jimenez, a right-hander, has a 12-9 record in 30 starts with a 3.39 ERA and is 6-5 in 15 home starts. In eight career starts against the White Sox, Jimenez is 2-3 with a 5.21 ERA.
Chicago has won two in a row and is aiming for its first three-game winning streak since a six-game run from Aug. 16-22.
The White Sox have just six wins in their last 24 games and handed the Toronto Blue Jays a 3-2 defeat Monday in the makeup of a previously scheduled rainout. Avisail Garcia and Marcus Semien both homered and Jose Quintana allowed two runs in 7 1/3 innings for the win.
"Wins have been hard to come by, so it's nice that he got the win so he can feel good about it," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Quintana.
Addison Reed recorded his 39th save in the ninth.
Chicago is scheduled to close out its disappointing campaign with a four-game series versus the Kansas City Royals and hopes Hector Santiago can keep the momentum going when he toes the rubber Tuesday. Santiago is only 4-9 with a 3.53 ERA in 33 games (22 starts) and is 0-2 in his past four trips to the hill. In his previous outing on SAept. 13 versus Cleveland, Santiago gave up three runs in four innings of a 3-1 loss.
Santiago, a left-hander, has a 2-1 record and a 5.16 ERA in nine career meetings (4 starts) with the Indians.