Streaking Indians tie ’02 A’s for AL consecutive wins mark
CLEVELAND — Francisco Lindor skipped through the doorway and into the Indians’ clubhouse, where the pulsating music was at an ear-splitting level.
As many of his teammates dressed quickly with another game just 14 hours away, Cleveland’s star shortstop worked the room, exchanging high-fives with anyone he could find.
It’s almost unthinkable for a team to win 20 straight games.
Usually, that only happens in the movies. “Moneyball” has its sequel.
Following a familiar script of scoring first, playing strong defense and riding dominant pitching, the Indians extended their winning streak to 20 and matched the AL mark held by the 2002 Oakland Athletics, beating the Detroit Tigers 2-0 on Tuesday night.
Cleveland’s streak, which began Aug. 24 in Boston, is tied for the majors’ secondlongest in 82 years — and the Indians show no signs of stopping.
“It’s special,” Lindor said. “As a kid, you dream about playing in front of a lot of fans and the crowd goes nuts. That’s what you want. This is for them. It’s not for us.”
Lindor homered leading off the first and Corey Kluber (16-4) strengthened his Cy Young Award case with a four-hitter as Cleveland joined the 2002 A’s, 1935 Chicago Cubs (21) and 1916 New York Giants (26) as the only teams since 1900 to win at least 20 in a row.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Kluber said. “To go almost three weeks without losing a game is not something that you ever really expect.”
The Progressive Field crowd of 24,654, riveted by each pitch as though it was October, stood and roared when Kluber sprinted to the mound for the ninth.
Second baseman Jose Ramirez made a sensational diving stop in short right field to throw out Ian Kinsler for the second out, and after allowing a double to Alex Presley, Kluber sealed win No. 20 — and Cleveland’s seventh shutout during the streak — by getting Miguel Cabrera on an easy grounder to third.
Fireworks exploded overhead and the Indians lined up single-file the same way they have for weeks to celebrate yet another win in this unlikely streak.
“For sure, it’s something special,” Lindor said. “It’s going to be there forever.”
Although they insist they’re not focused on the streak, the Indians are playing as though they don’t want it to end.
They’re now within reach of the Giants’ revered 101-year-old mark, which includes a tie that interrupted 12- and 14-game unbeaten runs. However, the Elias Sports Bureau, the official statistical custodian for Major League Baseball, has always regarded the Giants’ stretch as the gold standard because tie games were replayed from the start back then.
Cleveland can equal the Cubs’ 21-game run Wednesday afternoon.
Closing in on their second consecutive AL Central title, the Indians figured to keep things going with Kluber on the mound, and the right-hander continued his own superb stretch. Kluber improved to 8-1 in his last nine starts and lowered his ERA to an AL-best 2.45 with his third shutout of the season and fifth complete game.
RED SOX 11, ATHLETICS 1: Mookie Betts hit two home runs and a two-run triple, and host Boston Sox rolled. The Red Sox, winners of five of their last six, pushed their American League East lead back to four games over the Yankees following New York’s loss to 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay.
Betts went 3 for 5 with six RBI. He’s driven in three runs or more in a teamhigh 11 games.
The loss snapped a five-game win streak for the A’s, who scored 41 runs in a fourgame sweep of the AL West-leading Houston Astros. They managed just one run and one hit off Eduardo Rodriguez (5-5), who struck out nine over six innings.
MARINERS 10, RANGERS 3: Ben Gamel and Kyle Seager both hit three-run homers for visiting Seattle in a matchup of wild card hopefuls. Texas (72-72) and Seattle (72-73) have split the first two games of their four-game series. The Rangers dropped three games behind Minnesota for the American League’s second wild card, while the Mariners remained 3½ back after the Twins also won.
BLUE JAYS 3, ORIOLES 2: Richard