Streak­ing In­di­ans rally for AL-record 21st win

The Signal - - SPORTS -

The Cleve­land In­di­ans pow­ered their way into base­ball his­tory Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, set­ting an Amer­i­can League record with their 21st con­sec­u­tive vic­tory, a 5-3 con­quest of the Detroit Tigers at Pro­gres­sive Field in Cleve­land.

Home runs by Jay Bruce and Roberto Perez — giv­ing Cleve­land 41 homers in the streak — lifted the In­di­ans past the 2002 Oak­land Ath­let­ics for the AL record and tied the 1935 Chicago Cubs at 21 wins in a row.

A vic­tory Thurs­day against the Kansas City Roy­als would leave only the 1916 New York Gi­ants — who won 26 con­sec­u­tive games — ahead of the In­di­ans.

How­ever, the Gi­ants’ streak in­cluded one tie score. Ma­jor League Base­ball and Elias Sports Bu­reau — MLB’s of­fi­cial statis­ti­cian — both rec­og­nize the Gi­ants’ streak as the long­est in ma­jor league his­tory.

“I have given that zero thought,” In­di­ans man­ager Terry Fran­cona said. “I prom­ise you I have given that zero thought.”

Those se­man­tics are for an­other day.

Wed­nes­day, the In­di­ans gifted a crowd of 29,346 a record vic­tory, as their stun­ning run of in­domitable base­ball stretched to­ward au­tumn.

“It feels like Oc­to­ber,” Bruce said in an on-field, postgame in­ter­view. “We all ap­pre­ci­ate it. It’s been a fun ride, man.”

This time the In­di­ans faced ad­ver­sity, rel­a­tive to the rest of their run.

The Tigers took a 1-0, first-in­ning lead on a Jeimar Can­de­lario dou­ble, just the fourth time the In­di­ans (90-56) have trailed since this streak be­gan Aug. 24.

Bruce, ac­quired Aug. 9 from the New York Mets, con­tin­ued his star turn with the In­di­ans in the bot­tom of the in­ning, eras­ing the deficit with a three-run homer off Tigers starter Buck Farmer.

In­di­ans starter Mike Clevinger was dom­i­nant at times, strik­ing out six in 52⁄3 in­nings, but gave up some solid con­tact and, ul­ti­mately, three runs to the Tigers. But af­ter An­drew Romine’s sin­gle brought Detroit within 4-3 in the sixth, Perez re­sponded with a sev­enth-in­ning home run to stretch it to 5-3.

Gio­vanny Ur­shela made two sparkling de­fen­sive plays to work around an er­ror by setup man Bryan Shaw in the eighth in­ning, and Cody Allen closed the game for his 27th save.

Clevinger’s win was the 19th by an In­di­ans start­ing pitcher in the streak.

Their magic num­ber to clinch the AL Cen­tral was re­duced to four. Even Las Ve­gas is on board, in­stalling them as co-fa­vorites with the Los An­ge­les Dodgers to win the World Se­ries.

Yet even if the In­di­ans can’t win one more post­sea­son game than they did last year — when they fell to the Chicago Cubs in Game 7 of the World Se­ries — this team will go down in his­tory.

The In­di­ans made sure of that Wed­nes­day.

DAVID RICHARD, USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Francisco Lin­dor, left, con­grat­u­lates Jay Bruce af­ter his three-run homer sparked the In­di­ans to the record-set­ting win.

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