CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Indians have found their stride again. Perfect timing, too.
Asdrubal Cabrera hit a three-run homer, Nick Swisher had a solo shot and the surging Indians beat the New York Mets 9-4 on Saturday night.
Cleveland has won four in a row for the first time since it captured eight straight from July 24-Aug. 1. Swisher finished with two hits and two RBIs as the Indians stayed in the hunt for the AL’s second wild-card slot.
“This is such a great opportunity for us and we’re starting to get to the middle of September,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “Every time we win, we’re getting closer to where we want to be. It’s a great chance for this team to shine and I think they’re enjoying that.”
Corey Kluber (8-5), the first of seven Cleveland pitchers, allowed two runs in five-plus innings. Kluber, pitching for the first time since Aug. 5 after being sidelined by a sprained right middle finger, was pulled after walking the leadoff hitter in the sixth.
Jonathon Niese (6-7) lost for the first time in six starts since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 11. The left-hander allowed six runs over six innings in New York’s fifth loss in the last six games.
Cleveland began the day just two games back of Tampa Bay for the second AL wild card. The Indians and Orioles are tied with 76-65 records.
The Indians went 1-5 on a road trip to Atlanta and Detroit, but they have won four of five on their current homestand.
“There’s something to be said for just playing through ups and downs,” Francona said. “That’s really what the season is. And now you get toward the last month, because we’ve endured a lot, every game, every inning is so meaningful.”
Swisher, who hit a grand slam Friday, belted a one-out homer in the second that traveled 402 feet. He also had an RBI double in Cleveland’s five-run first.
“This is the push,” Swisher said. “It’s been a while since this team’s been in this opportunity. This is where it really counts.”
Added Francona: “Swish looks like he’s starting to swing it and Cabby had a big, big hit. That would be so good to get both those guys hot right about the right time.”