KANSAS CITY — The endless season is over and the season that can go much faster is about to begin for the Indians.
Francisco Lindor supplied all the offense on Sunday afternoon, while Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer took care of the pitching as the Indians beat Kansas City, 2-1, at Kauffman Stadium to end the regular season with a 91-71 record.
They will now begin the final preparation for the best-of-five ALDS against Houston on Friday at Minute Maid Park. Corey Kluber will start Game 1 and Carrasco Game 2.
Lindor created the Tribe’s first run as he reached first base on an error by left-hander Erik Skoglund to start the game. He stole second and then stole third. He raced home when third baseman Alcides Escobar couldn’t handle catcher Meibrys Viloria’s throw and was charged with an error.
In the third, Lindor used his power to make the lead, 2-0. He hit a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left field for his 38th homer of the season. Lindor ended the year hitting .277 with 129 runs, 38 homers and 25 steals.
Carrasco (17-10, 3.38) allowed one run one three hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked two. He finished the season with 192 innings pitched and 231 strikeouts. In the last two years, Carrasco is 35-16 for the Indians.
Bauer, making his third appearance since coming off the disabled list, worked four scoreless innings to protect the 2-1 lead. He retired seven straight before Whit Merrifield singled with one out in the eighth. It extended his hitting streak to 20 games and gave him the AL lead in hits with 192.
He stole second and went to third on a throwing error by rookie catcher Eric Haase as Adaberto Mondes struck out swinging. Bauer ended the threat by getting Salvador Perez to line out to left field.
The Royals made things interesting in the ninth. Greg Allen made a sliding catch in center against Ryan O’Hearn for the first out, but Rosell Herrera reached on what was ruled a bad-hop single off Jose Ramirez’s chest at second base. Bauer retired the next to batters to earn his first big-league save.
Bauer, who missed nearly six weeks with a stress fracture in his right leg, ended the season with a 2.21 ERA. He pitched four scoreless innings, striking out two and allowing two hits.
The Royals made it 2-1 against Carrasco in the fifth. Brian Goodwin reached on a leadoff single and stole second. He took third on a ground ball to first before Carrasco complicated matters by walking Brett Phillips and allowing an RBI single to Viloria.
Carrasco, who entered the game 1-4 in his last five decisions, held the lead as he struck out Merrifield and retired Mondesi on a nice pick and throw by Lindor with the tying run on third.
What it means
The Indians, in winning their third straight AL Central division, finished the year at 49-27 in division play. It included a 12-7 record against the Royals.
Carrasco threw 77 pitches, 49 (64 percent) for strikes. Skoglund threw 85 pitches, 50 (59 percent) for strikes.
Thanks for coming
The Indians and Royals drew 19,690 to Kauffman Stadium on Sunday. First pitch was at 3:17 p.m. with a temperature of 72 degrees.
Kluber will face the Astros on Friday night at Minute Maid Park in Game 1 of the ALDS.