CLEVELAND — While it's been said that all good things must end, the Cleveland Indians hope instead that Sunday's final regular season contest of 2017 heralds more of a beginning.
The Indians dispatched the Chicago White Sox, 3-1 at Progressive Field and now await the winner of Tuesday's Wild Card playoff when the American League Division Series opens on Thursday.
Cleveland's offense struck for three runs in the first inning, and starting pitcher Josh Tomlin combined with a host of relievers to make those runs stand up in a 3-1 Indians victory.
Chicago starter Chris Volstad walked the bases loaded in the first inning before Jay Bruce delivered a two-run single to right center field that scored Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis.
The RBI were Bruce's 100th and 101st of the season, becoming the second time in his career he's eclipsed the century mark. Carlos Santana followed with an RBI on a sacrifice fly to center.
Tomlin, in his final start before the postseason, allowed just a solo home run to White Sox catcher Rob Brantly in the fifth, striking out six Chicago batters in 5 1/3 innings of work.
Joe Smith, Tyler Olson, Zach McAllister, Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen worked 3 1/3 scoreless (and hitless) innings out of the Tribe bullpen to secure Tomlin's 10th win of the season. Allen earned his 30th save.
Olson, who joined the club July 21, retired Brantly in the seventh inning, marking his 30th consecutive scoreless appearance of the year (covering 20 innings). That's the most innings pitched in a season with a 0.00 earned run average since Karl Spooner for Brooklyn in 1954.
Jose Ramirez collected a pair of hits and a walk in four plate appearances, including his major league-leading 56th double in the fifth inning. Ramirez became one of only seven players with 56 or more doubles in a single season in the last 65 years.
Manager Terry Francona lifted Ramirez and Lindor in the top of the eighth inning after Miller retired Chicago's Alen Henson. The two infielders, who combined for 172 extra-base hits, including 62 home runs this year, received a standing ovation from fans as they were replaced by Giovanny Urshela and Erik Gonzalez respectively.
The Indians finish the regular season with 102 wins, the second-highest win total in franchise history behind the 1954 club (111). They close with a 50-26 record against American League Central Division opponents and a 49-32 record at Progressive Field.
The Indians open American League Division Series play at a yet-to-be-determined time on Thursday at Progressive Field against the winner of Tuesday's Wild Card game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins. WTAM/1100 and WMMS/FM 100.7 will carry the game on the radio. The contest will be televised on either FoxSports1 or MLB Network, depending on the opponent.
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