Indians set AL record for consecutive winsBy JIM INGRAHAM
The Sports Xchange
September 13. 2017 11:54PM
CLEVELAND — For most of his team’s march into history, Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona has tried the low-key approach with a daily turn-the-page mentality.
But after his team did something no team has done in the 117-year history of the American League, even Francona had to stop and acknowledge it.
“It’s pretty special,” he said on Wednesday.
Jay Bruce and Roberto Perez each homered as the Indians set an American League record with their 21st consecutive win in a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field.
The Indians are now tied with the 1935 Chicago Cubs for the second longest winning streak in major league history. The longest is 26 games by the 1916 New York Giants, although there was a tie game during that streak.
“Our guys are enjoying it, and they should,” Francona said. “When you do something and do it the right way, you should enjoy it.”
The Indians, who haven’t lost since Aug. 23, have outscored their opponents 139-35 during the streak.
“We’re not consumed by the streak,” Bruce said. “What consumes us is coming to the park every day getting ready to play that game. Nothing else. I actually thought we were playing the Royals today.”
Mike Clevinger (10-5) gave up one earned run in 5 2/3 innings to get the win. Cody Allen pitched the ninth inning to earn his 27th save.
Detroit starter Buck Farmer (4-3) gave up four runs in four innings and took the loss.
The Indians have trailed for just four of the 189 innings played during the streak. Indians starting pitchers during the streak are 19-0 with a 1.67 ERA.
“Everybody pretty much has had a hand in doing something,” Francona said.
“It doesn’t matter who we put out there,” Bruce said. “We’ve got guys up from Double-A ball taking meaningful at bats.”
The only earned run allowed by Clevinger came in the first inning, on a two-out RBI double by Jeimer Candelario.
It didn’t take the Indians long to respond.
“I knew we were going to score. I was just trying to think about how I could make better pitches to hold the lead,” Clevinger said.
With two outs and two on, Bruce hit a 1-1 pitch over the left field wall to give Cleveland a 3-1 lead.
Bruce, who was acquired from the Mets in a mid-season trade, has matched his career high with 34 home runs, five of them coming with the Indians.
“Nothing against the Mets, but I went from the least fun situation to the most fun,” Bruce said.
The Indians scored again in a wild third inning in which Detroit manager Brad Ausmus and catcher James McCann were both ejected.
After an RBI single by Edwin Encarnacion made it a 4-1 Indians’ lead, Bruce, the next hitter, took a close pitch for ball four. McCann said something to home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott, and was immediately ejected. Ausmus, who was on his way to the mound, detoured to the plate to continue the argument, and he, too, was tossed by Wolcott.
“I felt there was a discrepancy in the strike zone for the two teams. We weren’t getting the calls they were,” Ausmus said.
After a walk to Carlos Santana loaded the bases, with Yandy Diaz the batter, Farmer threw a fastball that catcher John Hicks missed. The ball hit Wolcott in the left shoulder, knocking him on his back.
After a brief delay, Wolcott remained in the game.
“Hicks got crossed up on the pitch; he assumed it would be a slider away, and Farmer threw a fastball,” Ausmus said. “Plus, the bases were loaded. For anyone to imply that that was intentional, that’s a lie. If one of our players tried to intentionally hurt an umpire, we would handle it, severely.”
The Tigers knocked Clevinger out of the game in the sixth inning, scoring two unearned runs. Miguel Cabrera hit a grounder to third baseman Yandy Diaz, who threw wildly to first for an error, allowing Cabrera to reach second base.
Castellano followed with a double, scoring Cabrera to make it 4-2. Clevinger retired the next two hitters, but Andrew Romine lined a single to right, scoring Castellanos as Cleveland’s lead shrunk to 4-3.
The Indians added an insurance run in the seventh inning when Perez hit an 0-2 offering from reliever Daniel Norris over the center field wall to make it a 5-3 Cleveland lead.