Cleveland (59-81) came into Monday's game against Minnesota (58-82) leading the Twins by one game for fourth place in the division.
"It's very disheartening to be in the position we're in right now," said right-hander Vinnie Pestano. "[From] this team's aspirations coming out of Spring Training, to battling to not be last -- that's never anything you want to do. I don't think our focus is to not be last. I think our focus is still going and trying to win every game we play."
The Indians started the month of September with a 4-4 record, a vast improvement over the club's woeful August. But as Pestano pointed out, that wasn't difficult to accomplish after the team finished 5-24 last month.
"You definitely don't want to finish the year and say we finished last in the Central," infielder Jason Donald said. "Some people will say it's not important unless you're finishing first. But I think there's a pride factor that comes in with it. We're certainly going to do everything that we can to battle it out until the end of the year."