CLEVELAND — The anticipation of their first division championship since 2007 is building for the Cleveland Indians.
Jose Ramirez hit a two-run homer and drove in four runs and the Indians dropped their magic number for clinching an AL Central title to three games with a 10-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
“Now that it’s here there’s a lot of excitement that surrounds it,” said winning pitcher Trevor Bauer. “Even though every game is just as important, these feel a little bit more fun. There’s just a different atmosphere around it.”
Bauer (12-8) overcame two-run homers by Melky Cabrera and Avisail Garcia. The right-hander allowed four runs in 7 2/3 innings.
Ramirez, a key contributor in his first full season, had another big game. He hit a two-run homer in the fourth and had a two-run double in the sixth when Cleveland scored four times.
Mike Napoli drove in two runs and became the first Cleveland player to reach 100 RBIs since Victor Martinez in 2007.
“It’s only human to see what’s in front of you, but we still have to get to that point,” Napoli said. “It’s not a bunch of talk about it.”
White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton left after running into the wall catching Roberto Perez’s long drive in the sixth. He was down for several minutes before being helped to the dugout.
“Adam is pretty banged up, but he seems fine and is responsive,” manager Robin Ventura said. “It was actually his hip that was the issue, and when that happened, his back locked up.”
Coco Crisp was 3 for 4 with three RBIs and hit a two-run double in the fifth to lead 6-4. Carlos Santana had three hits and is 10 for 16 in his last four games.
Chicago has lost six in a row and was eliminated from the AL wild-card race.
Chicago went ahead in the first on Cabrera’s home run. Ramirez’s homer tied the game, but Garcia’s two-run blast put back Chicago on top.
Cleveland took advantage of three hits, a hit batter and an error by third baseman Todd Frazier in the fifth against Miguel Gonzalez (4-8).
Santana led off with a double and Jason Kipnis was hit by a pitch. Following a wild pitch, Francisco Lindor hit a sacrifice fly and Napoli’s single tied the game.
Juan Minaya replaced Gonzalez, and Frazier booted Ramirez’s ground ball, moving Napoli to second. Crisp then delivered with two outs.
Napoli, who entered in an 0-for-20 slump, had three hits and added an RBI single in the sixth to reach the century mark.
“It’s something nice but to be able to do it on a winning team is even better,” he said.
Gonzalez allowed five runs — four earned — in 4 1/3 innings.
Bauer was surprised Garcia was able to take his fifth-inning pitch to right field, a towering drive that barely cleared the wall.
“That was ridiculous,” he said. “I jammed the heck out of him. He looked to left field because he thought he pulled it. I have no idea how it’s a homer.”
White Sox: 2B Tyler Saladino (back discomfort) was scratched from the lineup and replaced by Carlos Sanchez.
Indians: RHP Danny Salazar (strained forearm) played catch Friday, but it’s unclear when he’ll throw a bullpen session.
White Sox: LHP Jose Quintana, who starts Saturday, needs four innings to record his fourth straight season of 200 innings pitched.
Indians: RHP Cody Anderson, forced into the rotation by injuries, will make his first start since June 7.