CLEVELAND — Carson Fulmer pitched five strong innings in a matchup against Corey Kluber, Kevan Smith drove in two runs and the Chicago White Sox beat the Cleveland Indians 2-1 on Saturday night.
Cleveland clinched the best record in the AL earlier in the day when Houston lost to Boston. The AL Central champions will play the winner of the wild-card game between the Yankees and Twins in a Division Series.
Michael Brantley had a pinch-hit single in the fifth for Cleveland, marking his first game action since spraining his right ankle on Aug. 8. The two-time All-Star worked Fulmer (3-1) for a 10 pitch at-bat before sharply singling to right.
Smith doubled off Mike Clevinger (12-6) in the sixth, scoring Avisail Garcia for a 2-1 lead. His RBI single in the fourth off Kluber scored Jose Abreu.
Kluber capped his resume for the AL Cy Young Award with five innings of one-run ball, lowering his ERA to an AL-best 2.25. He struck out three and threw just 81 pitches in his final postseason tuneup.
Kluber finished the season with an 18-4 record and 265 strikeouts. He made a strong case in September for a second Cy Young while Boston’s Chris Sale was inconsistent.
Fulmer allowed a run and three hits for Chicago, which is 13-9 since losing four in a row to the Indians from Sept. 4-7. The right-hander ended the season with a flourish, posting a 2-0 record with a 1.56 ERA over his last four starts.
Juan Minaya tossed a perfect ninth for his ninth save. Matt Davidson and Abreu also had two hits apiece for the White Sox.
Francisco Lindor accounted for Cleveland’s lone run with a fielder’s choice in the fifth. The Indians are 32-4 since the start of their AL-record 22-game winning streak on Aug. 24.