WINDIANS! TRIBE CLINCHES AL CENTRAL DIVISION
Tribe back to winning, defeats Royals
Francisco Lindor popped out of the chair at his clubhouse cubicle and asked a question before any reporter could get one off.
“You guys aren’t going to ask me about the streak, are you?” Cleveland’s jovial shortstop said, smiling. Well, yes. Yours. While the Indians’ historic winning streak is no longer the talk of baseball, Lindor’s on a personal roll that has become notable.
The All-Star set a club record with another extra-base hit and the Indians bounced back after having their AL record streak
stopped at 22 by beating the Kansas City Royals, 8- 4, at Progressive Field on Saturday to clinch the Central Division title.
Lindor’s double in the sixth off
Jason Hammel (8-12) gave him an extra-base hit in 10 straight games — a club record and four shy of the major league mark of 14, shared by Chipper Jones (2006) and Paul Waner (1927).
“I didn’t even know that,” Lindor said. “I saw it on the scoreboard.”
Carlos Carrasco (16- 6) pitched into the seventh as the Indians improved to 32-5 in their last 37 games.
The win coupled with the second-place Minnesota Twins’ 7-2 home loss to Toronto secured the division title for the Tribe.
With 13 games remaining in the regular season, the Indians are 92-57 and have a 14.5game lead on the Twins. Minnesota slipped to 77-71 with the loss and has 14 games remaining.
Because the Toronto-Minnesota game on Sept. 16 was beginning just as the game at Progressive Field was ending,
the Indians’ players and staff elected not to wait around in the home clubhouse for a possible clinching.
The team will have the clubhouse title celebration after the Sept. 17 game against the Royals.
In Saturday’s game, Edwin Encarnacion hit his 35th homer for Cleveland.
Alex Gordon connected for the Royals, whose wild-card hopes took another blow and dropped 18 1/2 games behind the Indians.
“They’re all hot,” Hammel said. “There’s a good reason they’re going to be wrapping it up.”
Less than 24 hours after losing for the first time in threeweeks, thedefendingAL champion Indians returned to the business of taking their secondstraightdivisioncrown and ninth since 1995.
Following Friday’s 4-3loss, the Indians were warmly saluted by their fans, who gave them a rousing standing ovation in appreciation for the longest win streak baseball has seen since the 1916 New York Giants won 26 in a row.
No doubt the streak was
fun, but it servedas little more than a September diversion for these Indians. They have one goal — a Series title — after losing in seven games last year to the Chicago Cubs.
“I was happy about that,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of his team’s ability to rebound. “I didn’t think we wouldn’t, but it’s nice to see them go right back to trying to be as good of a team as we can be.”
The sensational Lindor is leading their charge.
With the Indians up by a run and with two on in the sixth, Lindor doubled high off the left-field wall to make it 5-2. It was Lindor’s 40th double and broke a tie with Hal Trosky, who hit either a double, triple or homer in nine consecutive games for Cleveland in 1934.
“He’s using the whole field.” Francona said. “And he’s strong enough and he’s got probably 1,500 at-bats under his belt. So, he knows the league and he understands situations more. That comes with experience. So he’s still everybit asdangerous. He just also is finding his hits, spray-
ing the ball around.”
The Indians now have three pitchers — Kluber, Carrasco and Trevor Bauer — with 16 wins. They are the first Cleveland pitchers to get at least 16 in the same season sinceEarlyWynn, BobLemon and Herb Score in 1956.
Indians All-Star reliever Andrew Miller made his second appearance since returning from the disabled list and faced one batter. He retired Lorenzo Cain on two pitches.
INDIANS» OF Brandon Guyer aggravated awrist injury that sidelined him for six weeks earlier this season. He’ll undergo treatment and is expected to miss five to seven days. ... OF Lonnie Chisenhall will also miss a week after aggravating a calf injury. ... OF Jason Kipnis got medical clearance to be activated Sunday and will play at least five innings in center field, his first time in the outfield since he was in the minors in 2009.
The Indians’ Francisco Lindor sets a club record of hitting an extra-base hit in 10straight games with a double in the sixth inning.
Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco became the third Indians starter to win 16games this season.