Pirates finish with 19 wins
CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Indians are staying home for the first round of the postseason — with the New York Yankees coming to town.
Carlos Santana had four RBIs and delivered a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh inning as the Indians rallied past the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-6 on Sunday to gain home-field advantage for their AL wild-card series.
The Indians (35-25) finished second in the AL Central and grabbed the No. 4 seed in the American League playoffs when the Chicago White Sox lost to the crosstown Cubs. Cleveland will face the fifth-seeded Yankees in a best-of-three series beginning Tuesday at Progressive Field.
The opener features a prime pitching matchup, with Cy Young Award favorite Shane Bieber scheduled to face Yankees ace Gerrit Cole.
The Pirates held a 6-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth, when Franmil Reyes belted a three-run homer that chased starter JT Brubaker.
Nik Turley (0-3) entered for the seventh, hitting Cesar Hernandez with a pitch and giving up a double to Jose Ramirez before Santana plated them both to put Cleveland ahead 7-6. A sacrifice fly by Reyes drove in Santana, who hit a two-run homer in the third.
James Karinchak (1-2) struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh for the win and Brad Hand got four outs for his AL-high 16th save in 16 opportunities.
Ramirez, a leading AL MVP contender, went 2 for 3 with two doubles and two runs.
Pirates rookie Ke’Bryan Hayes singled in the first and homered in the third, becoming the first Pittsburgh player with eight straight hits since Andy Van Slyke in 1994. The 23-year-old was intentionally walked in the fifth to reach base for the 10th consecutive plate appearance.
Hayes finished 2 for 4 and batted .376 (32 for 85) after making his major league debut on Sept. 1.
Jose Osuna went 3 for 3 with two RBIs and two runs, belting a solo homer in the fifth when Pittsburgh scored twice. Two of the Pirates’ runs were unearned on errors by Santana and shortstop Francisco Lindor.
The Indians (35-25) returned to the playoffs for the fourth time in five years after failing to qualify in 2019, when they were 93-69 and placed second in the division.
The Pirates (19-41) finished with the worst record in the majors under first-year manager Derek Shelton. They went 69-93 last season and were last in the NL Central.
Pittsburgh activated C Andrew Susac from the taxi squad after he spent all season at the team’s alternate training site in Altoona, Pennsylvania. The 30-year-old last played in the majors with Baltimore in 2018.
“This kid has been with us all year and was a leader in Altoona,” Shelton said. “We wanted to give him an opportunity today.”
Susac received extended cheers and a standing ovation from the Pirates’ relievers when he first came up to bat.
Pirates: C Jacob Stallings (concussion) was placed on the seven-day injured list and RHP Keone Kela (forearm) was transferred to the 45-day IL. Stallings was struck by a backswing Saturday, but played the entire game.
Pirates: Spring training opener on Feb. 27 against the Red Sox in Fort Myers, Florida.
Indians: AL wild-card series against an undetermined opponent on Tuesday. Bieber (8-1, 1.63 ERA), RHP Carlos Carrasco (3-4, 2.91 ERA) and RHP Zach Plesac (4-2, 2.28 ERA) will be their starters.