By Jordan Bastian and August Fagerstrom
CLEVELAND -- Josh Tomlin worked into the sixth inning, Lonnie Chisenhall knocked in three runs and the Indians kept their second-half success at home going in a 6-3 victory over the White Sox on Sunday afternoon at Progressive Field.
With the victory, Cleveland took two of three in the series with Chicago, marking the seventh straight home series in which the Tribe either won or came away with a split. The Indians have gone 15-6 in front of their local fans dating back to their last series loss (July 27-29) at Progressive Field.
"We've played well enough that these games are so meaningful," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Rather than get too far ahead of ourselves, [we'll] just take it as it comes and keep playing."
The Indians (74-74) remain four games back of the Astros (79-71) in the race for the American League's second Wild Card spot. The Angels and Twins are each 2 1/2 games behind Houston, making for a crowded field with two weeks to go. The Indians and Twins square off in a three-game set, starting Tuesday.
Tomlin, who has a 1.98 ERA and .177 opponents' average over his past five starts for Cleveland, turned in 5 2/3 scoreless innings, ending with eight strikeouts, four hits allowed and three walks issued. Chisenhall supported his starter with a two-run homer in the second inning and an RBI double in the sixth. Francisco Lindor (two RBIs) and Michael Brantley (RBI double) also chipped in.
"He's a different type of pitcher," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said, of Tomlin. "Now that he's come back, he's got a little more movement and there's deception to him. I think before he was more velocity, now it seems he has a little more movement on his ball and he's controlling the outside part of the plate as well."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Lon gone: Following a one-out single by Yan Gomes in the second inning, Chisenhall sent a 1-0 offering from Danks to deep right field for a two-run home run. The blast was Chisenhall's seventh of the season. Since being called up from Triple-A Columbus, he has hit .319 (38-for-119) in 42 games for the Tribe. More >
"He had had some success off Danks before," Francona said. "I thought it was a good day for him to play, especially with a day off [Monday]. Shoot, he jumped on the first fastball, so that really gave us a lift."
Doubling down: Gomes and Chisenhall connected for consecutive doubles for Cleveland to begin a three-run push in the sixth inning. Lindor added a sacrifice fly and Brantley chipped in a double of his own to run the Indians' lead to 6-0 in the sixth.
Late life: The White Sox couldn't get to Tomlin, but found a way to scratch across a couple of runs against the Tribe bullpen. Carlos Sanchez worked a four-pitch walk against Indians reliever Zach McAllister and moved to third on an Adam Eaton double before Abreu drove in the pair with a single to right field that cut the deficit to 6-2.
"We were hoping to go in, but it was up and just didn't get in there. Looked like he was ready for it. Didn't fool him too much." --Danks, on Chisenhall's homer
"It feels good right now to be out there and contributing to this team and being consistent, and going out every fifth day and not worrying about my arm or anything going haywire or getting a start pushed back or anything like that. It's good to go out there and lock in for this team." --Tomlin, who returned in August from a shoulder injury
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Brantley's double in sixth gave him a Major League-leading 45 doubles. The Indians left fielder became the first Cleveland player since 1940-41 (Lou Boudreau) to have 45 or more doubles in consecutive seasons. Dating back to at least 1914, George Burns (1926-27) and Tris Speaker (1920-23) also accomplished the feat.
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox: Chicago heads to Detroit to start a four-game set with the Tigers, beginning with a doubleheader on Monday. Jeff Samardzija (9-13, 5.27 ERA) will start game one with a 1:08 p.m. ET first pitch, and will be followed by right-hander Erik Johnson (2-0, 3.71 ERA) at 7:08 p.m. Samardzija is looking to snap out of a funk in which he's allowed 51 earned runs in his last 49 2/3 innings. Johnson is making his fourth start of the season.
Indians: Following an off-day on Monday, the Indians will take their Wild Card chase to Minnesota to begin a three-game series against the Twins on Tuesday. Tribe righty Danny Salazar (13-8, 3.48 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound in the 8:10 p.m. ET series opener at Target Field. Cleveland and Minnesota, which are both in the postseason hunt, square off seven more times this season.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.
August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.