Cleve­land sets Amer­i­can League record with 21st straight win

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - SPORTS - Tom Withers

CLEVE­LAND — The Cleve­land In­di­ans hit base­ball black­jack — 21!

Mak­ing his­tory al­most ev­ery time they take the field, the In­di­ans won their 21st straight game on Wed­nes­day, 5-3 over the Detroit Tigers, to set an Amer­i­can League win­ning-streak record and join only two other teams in the past 101 years to win that many con­sec­u­tive games.

Jay Bruce hit a three-run homer off Buck Farmer (4-3) and Mike Clevinger (10-5) won his fourth straight start as the In­di­ans matched the 1935 Chicago Cubs for the sec­ond-long­est streak since 1900. The run has put Cleve­land within five wins of catch­ing the 1916 New York Gi­ants, who won 26 straight with­out a loss but whose cen­tury-old mark in­cludes a tie.

The In­di­ans haven’t lost in 20 days, and they’ve rarely been chal­lenged dur­ing a late-sea­son run in which they’ve dom­i­nated ev­ery as­pect of the game.

How­ever, they had to over­come a costly er­ror and rely on their bullpen to hold off the Tigers, who closed within 4-3.

Roberto Perez added a homer in the sev­enth and four Cleve­land re­liev­ers fin­ished, with Cody Allen get­ting his 27th save.

With the crowd of 29,346 stand­ing and stomp­ing, Allen re­tired Ian Kinsler for the fi­nal out, giv­ing the In­di­ans the league’s long­est streak since the AL was founded in 1901.

Dur­ing their streak, which be­gan with a 13-6 win over Bos­ton ace Chris Sale on Aug. 23, the In­di­ans have rarely been tied, never mind equaled, for nine in­nings. They have been su­pe­rior in ev­ery way pos­si­ble.

Cleve­land’s starters have gone 19-0 with a 1.70 ERA, they’ve outscored their op­po­nents 139-35 and trailed in only four of 189 in­nings.

In­cred­i­bly, the In­di­ans have hit more home runs (40) than their pitch­ers have given up in to­tal runs.

And while they’ve racked up win af­ter win, the de­fend­ing AL champs have re­duced their magic num­ber for win­ning their sec­ond straight AL Cen­tral ti­tle to four. They’ve passed the Hous­ton Astros for the league’s best record, which will come into play in the post-sea­son be­cause the team with the best record in each post-sea­son se­ries has the home­field ad­van­tage.

On Tues­day, the In­di­ans tied the league mark of 20 straight wins held by the Money­ball 2002 Oak­land Ath­let­ics. And now that they’re along­side the ’35 Cubs, the In­di­ans have a re­al­is­tic shot of run­ning down the ’16 Gi­ants.

Cleve­land opens four-game se­ries on Thurs­day against Kansas City, which was outscored 20-0 on its three-day visit last month.

With a shot at AL his­tory, Clevinger took the mound with Jimi Hen­drix’s Pur­ple Haze blast­ing through the ball­park’s sound sys­tem, and Cleve­land’s crowd came to rock — and wit­ness his­tory — on a mostly sunny day.

Some par­ents kept their kids home from school and brought them to Pro­gres­sive Field to see a once-in-a-life­time event Cleve­land res­i­dents may re­mem­ber more than any so­lar eclipse. They cheered ev­ery two-strike count like it was Oc­to­ber and there was some­thing much big­ger on the line. Those days aren’t far off, and the In­di­ans have viewed the streak as a per­fect post­sea­son warm-up as they try to end a Se­ries ti­tle drought dat­ing to 1948.

Clevinger, who didn’t al­low a run in 18 in­nings over his three pre­vi­ous starts, was down 1-0 in the first af­ter Jeimer Can­de­lario touched him for a two-out RBI dou­ble.

But as they have done for the past three weeks, the In­di­ans re­sponded as Bruce, who ar­rived in a trade from the Mets last month, con­nected for a three-run shot into the left-field bleach­ers.

The In­di­ans made it 4-1 in the third on Ed­win En­car­na­cion’s flare RBI sin­gle.

Cleve­land’s lead shrunk to 4-3 in the sixth, when third base­man Yandy Diaz’s throw­ing er­ror helped the Tigers score a pair of un­earned runs. How­ever, while costly, it didn’t de­rail the In­di­ans.

Af­ter Corey Klu­ber pitched a five-hit shutout on Tues­day, the In­di­ans didn’t have much time to rest be­fore they were back at the ball­park to fin­ish their se­ries against the Tigers, who have dropped 11 of 12 to Cleve­land.

Jason miller/getty IMAGES

Cleve­land In­di­ans closer Cody Allen cel­e­brates af­ter the last out to de­feat the Detroit Tigers on Wed­nes­day. The In­di­ans de­feated the Tigers for their 21st straight win, set­ting the Amer­i­can League record for con­sec­u­tive wins a day af­ter ty­ing it.

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