CLEVELAND — After 158 games of highs, lows, losing streaks and walkoff wins, the Indians can almost touch the postseason.
October is right in front of them.
"We're in control of our own destiny," DH Jason Giambi said. "That's all you can ask for at this time of year."
Rookie Danny Salazar provided a much-needed solid start and Nick Swisher hit a two-run homer as Cleveland tightened its grip on one of the AL's two wild-card spots with its 14th straight win over the White Sox, 7-2 Wednesday night in its home finale.
The Indians won their final six home games and hit the road for four games in Minnesota with a one-game lead over the Rangers in the wild-card chase. Cleveland is one behind the Rays for the top spot with four games left.
"We did what we needed to do," manager Terry Francona said. "It's very exciting to go play games that are this meaningful. This is as good as it gets."
Swisher homered in the fifth inning off Dylan Axlerod as the Indians finished the season 17-2 against Chicago.
Cleveland hasn't made the playoffs since 2007, but it's closing in on a berth under Francona, who guided the Red Sox to two World Series titles and has helped the Indians to 20 more wins than they had a year ago.
A spray-painted bedsheet in the upper deck of Progressive Field said: "Playoff Bound." The Indians have some work to do before that can happen.
They haven't won it all since 1948, but if they win their final four, they will end the drought.
"We've just got to play baseball, that's all we gotta do," said Giambi, who might have saved Cleveland's season with a pinch-hit two-run homer in the ninth inning Tuesday night. "We don't have to worry about anybody else beating anybody else. We've just get to go out and play baseball, which is the fun part of the game."
Asivail Garcia homered for the White Sox, 6-19 since Aug. 30. Chicago is 25-47 against AL Central teams and was overmatched against the Indians.
"They're better than us this year," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "They had our number. They outplayed us. We had leads late, but they seemed to fight and come back. They had a few walkoffs."
Swisher's two-run shot in the fifth gave the Indians a 4-1 lead.