Indians beat Angels for 26th win in 27 games

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

(TSX / STATS) -- ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Angels picked a bad time to face the hottest team major league baseball has seen in many years.

The Angels are chasing the Minnesota Twins for the second American League wild card, and the Twins lost Wednesday for the fifth time in their last six games.

Unfortunately for the Angels, they are in the middle of a series with the Cleveland Indians, who continued their torrid pace with a 6-5 win over Los Angeles at Angel Stadium.

For the second night in a row, the Angels (76-75) missed a chance to move within a half-game of the Twins, instead remaining 1 1/2 games out.

As for the Indians (95-57), it's a case of same ol', same ol'. They have won four in a row and 26 of 27. Their last loss other than the setback to Kansas City on Sunday that ended their 22-game winning streak came on Aug. 23, nearly a month ago.

The defeat was the Angels' third in a row. To make matters worse, they play the Indians again in the series finale on Thursday afternoon.

The pivotal inning Wednesday was the seventh, when the Indians scored three times to snap a 2-2 tie. The pivotal hit was a two-run home run by Francisco Lindor. Edwin Encarnacion chipped in with an RBI single.

Lindor's homer was his 31st of the season, the most in major league history by a switch-hitting shortstop.

The Angels nearly came back in the bottom of the inning, mounting a rally with two outs against former Angels reliever Joe Smith. Ben Revere singled, and Brandon Phillips followed with a double. When right fielder Jay Bruce's throw to second hit Phillips on the arm, Revere scooted home to make it 5-3.

Mike Trout then blooped one into right field for a double, scoring Phillips to make it 5-4. Smith and the Indians escaped, though, when Justin Upton grounded out.

Jose Ramirez's two-out single in the eighth inning scored Austin Jackson to give the Indians a necessary insurance run, because Albert Pujols led off the bottom of the eighth with a home run off Smith, cutting the deficit to 6-5. It was Pujols' 23rd of the season and No. 614 in his career.

Both starting pitchers -- Cleveland's Josh Tomlin and Los Angeles' Ricky Nolasco -- were finished before the end of the sixth inning. Tomlin gave up two runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. Nolasco allowed two runs and five hits in five innings.

Indians lefty Tyler Olson (1-0) got the win over Yusmeiro Petit (5-1). Bryan Shaw pitched the final two innings for the Indians, earning his third save, striking out Trout to end it.

NOTES: Indians OF Michael Brantley's hopes of playing in the postseason took a hit. A second opinion on his sprained right ankle confirmed the initial diagnosis of a deltoid ligament sprain along with right ankle synovitis. Brantley must shut down all running activities for seven to 10 days before being re-evaluated. ... LF Justin Upton has hit as well in his short time with the Angels as he did this season with the Tigers before he was acquired in an Aug. 31 trade. His overall totals of 32 homers and 104 RBIs are career highs, four of the homers and 10 of the RBIs coming with the Angels in 17 games. Upton's batting average (.286-.279), on-base percentage (.420-.362), slugging percentage (.589-.542) and OPS (1.010-.904) are all better with the Angels than with the Tigers.

Updated September 21, 2017

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