MINNEAPOLIS — As he dived through the clubhouse on a makeshift slip-and-slide drenched with beer and champagne, a euphoric Nick Swisher could only think about how far his Indians had come, and how quickly they got there.
They staggered into September on a five-game skid that had them all but finished in the AL playoff picture and entered the final two weeks of the season essentially needing to win every game to scratch their way in. And they did just that.
Cleveland earned its first postseason berth since 2007, beating the Twins 5-1 Sunday to clinch a wild-card berth as Ubaldo Jimenez tied a career high with 13 strikeouts.
Swisher homered in the first inning for the Indians, who became the first major-league team to win its final 10 regular-season games since the 1971 Orioles finished with 11 straight victories, according to STATS.
"The way we've been playing as of late, talk about starting pitching, talk about clutch hitting from our guys," a goggled Swisher hollered. "I'm telling you, we're bringing that wild-card game back to the 216 and that place is going to be packed out and rockin', baby!"
Cleveland hosts the Rays or the Rangers, who play a tiebreaker tonight, in the one-game wild-card playoff Wednesday night.
The Indians became the first team to sweep seven four-game series in one regular season since the 1943 Cardinals. After the final out, Cleveland players mobbed each other on the diamond.
"I'm so crazy about this group of guys," first-year manager Terry Francona said. "From ownership to baseball ops to the clubhouse guys, to be able to stand here and say the Indians are going to the playoffs, I'm so proud of everybody."
After giving up a leadoff single to Alex Presley in the first, Jimenez retired 17 straight. He had struck out five in a row when he walked Presley with two outs in the sixth and gave up a single to Brian Dozier. But he threw a called third strike past Trevor Plouffe to end the threat.