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CLE@CWS: Salazar fans nine in 3 2/3 innings of work

The Indians seemingly can't lose to the White Sox. And, considering Cleveland is in the postseason chase, that's a pretty good advantage for the Tribe.

The Indians enter the finale of a short two-game set against the White Sox on Wednesday one game back of the Rays for the first American League Wild Card spot with a one-game cushion over the Rangers for the second.

That lead has a good chance of growing on Wednesday, when the Indians go for their 14th straight victory over Chicago.

In all, the Indians are 16-2 against the White Sox this year.

It's a dominant stretch, of course. But also a fluky one, Indians manager Terry Francona said.

"What's happened yesterday or two weeks ago or two months ago will have no relevance on who wins tonight or not. That's not a point of [significance]. It doesn't matter," Francona said Tuesday, before his squad's walk-off, 5-4 victory.

Although the streak is eye-popping, it's secondary as the Indians try to advance to the postseason for the first time since 2007. Francona has been steady throughout his first year at the helm, which is part of the reason the Indians find themselves in this position. He said he plans to remain that way, even though the marathon of a 162-game regular season is becoming a sprint.

"I don't think you can push a button and change things," Francona said. "I think that's why from the first day of camp, you try to have an atmosphere where guys want to do the right thing. Because regardless of the importance of the game, you can't just step up your game, especially in our game.

"We know the importance of these games. It's pretty obvious. But you can't really change a whole lot."

White Sox: Axelrod gets another start
Right-hander Dylan Axelrod makes his second straight start on Wednesday, despite allowing seven runs over 2 2/3 innings his last time out against Detroit. It will be the 20th start of the season for Axelrod, who is 3-7 with a 5.81 ERA in that role.

The righty tossed five scoreless innings of relief in his last appearance against the Indians on Sept. 12.

• Infielder Jeff Keppinger will have season-ending exploratory surgery on his right shoulder on Thursday.

Indians: Salazar gets extra rest
Right-hander Danny Salazar takes the mound for his 10th start of the season on Wednesday, looking to rebound from his last outing, a loss to the Royals.

The rookie, starting on six days' rest, faced the White Sox on Sept. 13 in Chicago and was pulled after 78 pitches in 3 2/3 innings, but he did strike out nine.

• Tribe relievers have a 1.75 ERA and 37 strikeouts against 12 walks over the last 12 games, during which the Indians are 10-2.

• The Indians have seen their largest year-to-year increase in wins (68 to 87) since a 19-win jump from 1991 to '92.

Worth noting
• Cleveland's 13-game winning streak is the club's longest against one opponent since also taking 13 in a row from the Tigers from 1996-97, while it matches Chicago's longest drought against a single opponent in franchise history.

• According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is only the third time in the Wild Card era the Indians have held at least a share of a Wild Card spot this late into the season (2000, '05).

• White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham has a seven-game hitting streak (.321).

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