CHICAGO -- Ubaldo Jimenez pitched into the ninth inning and the Cleveland Indians kept up in the American League playoff race by continuing their dominance of the Chicago White Sox with an 8-1 win on Saturday night.
Cleveland pulled within 1 1/2 games of Texas for the lead in the American League wild card chase and Jimenez made sure the Indians offense didn't need to do much.
Jimenez (12-9) continued his strong September, allowing one run and striking out eight in 8 1/3 innings, coming within two outs from his first complete-game shutout since June 1, 2011, as a member of the Colorado Rockies. He has won all three of his starts this month and gave up his first earned run in 21 1/3 September innings.
Chen-Chang Lee replaced Jimenez with one out in the ninth and runners on first and second and allowed a single to Dayan Viciedo to load the bases. Josh Phegley's sacrifice fly to center ended Cleveland's chance at its 17th shutout of the season.
Asdrubal Cabrera's two-run homer and Lonnie Chisenhall's three-run blast both came in the fourth inning off Andre Rienzo and helped Cleveland to its 11th win in a row over the White Sox. The Indians have won 14 of 16 against Chicago this year and have outscored the White Sox 99-50 with three games left between the teams.
While Cleveland, which has won four of six and three straight and is looking for a return to the postseason, is finishing strong, Chicago is sputtering to the end of a miserable season.
Making his ninth major league start, Rienzo (2-2) couldn't help the White Sox end their struggles against Cleveland. Rienzo went four-plus innings and allowed five runs, seven hits and walked four batters.
The four walks were the third time that Rienzo has walked at least four batters.
Chicago has lost five straight and 14 of 16 and was held to three runs or fewer for the 75th time this year. The White Sox fell to 58-90 for their first 90-loss season since 2007 and dropped to a season-worst 32 games below .500.
Chicago also needs to go 5-9 avoid its first 100-loss season since 1970, and things didn't get off to a good start Saturday.
Rienzo loaded the bases with one out in the first inning on a walk to Jason Kipnis and singles by Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana but escaped without allowing a run by striking out Michael Brantley and getting Cabrera to ground out to first.
The White Sox had their first chance in the third against Jimenez when Josh Phegley and Marcus Semien singled to start the inning. But Jimenez avoided damage when Alejandro De Aza struck out, Gordon Beckham flied out to center and Alexei Ramirez struck out looking.
After the Indians threatened in the first, Rienzo held Cleveland hitless until the fourth, when the Indians scored five times on five hits and two home runs. Santana led off with a single. After a Brantley flyout to right, Cabrera hit his 13th homer, taking a 1-0 Rienzo pitch over the fence in deep right-center field for a 2-0 Indians lead.
Jason Giambi then walked and Yan Gomes singled before Chisenhall hit Rienzo's 1-2 pitch into the right field bleachers for a 5-0 Indians lead. Michael Bourn followed the homer with a single, but with two outs Kipnis was robbed of the Indians' third home run of the inning when De Aza made a leaping catch in front of the center field wall.
Rienzo came back to start the fourth but walked Santana and was replaced by Charlie Leesman.
NOTES: Indians RHP Carlos Carrasco returned to the team on Thursday after leaving Tuesday. Manager Terry Francona said Carrasco "lost a baby" but didn't elaborate further. Francona hadn't explained Carrasco's absence before Saturday. "It's a hard thing to talk about because you're not supposed to, and I want to respect his privacy but I don't want to just lie to you guys," Francona said. ... With the team out of contention, White Sox manager Robin Ventura didn't rule out shutting down any pitchers for the season. ... The Indians have 15 relievers. ... 1B/DH Adam Dunn was not in the Chicago lineup, one day after going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Dunn is 3-for-34 in his last 10 games. Ventura also said 1B/DH Paul Konerko "probably" would get Sunday off. ... Sunday's pitching matchup is Cleveland's Zach McAllister (7-9, 4.11 ERA) against Chicago's Chris Sale (11-12, 2.90 ERA).