WASHINGTON — Jay Bruce and Roberto Perez both homered as the Cleveland Indians set an American League (AL) record with their 21st consecutive win — a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday.
Cleveland had matched the 2002 Oakland Athletics’ 20-game winning streak with a win over the Tigers on Tuesday.
With another triumph in front of ecstatic home fans in Cleveland they surpassed that AL record, and tied the 1935 Chicago Cubs for the second-longest winning streak in Major League history.
The 26-game wining streak by the 1916 New York Giants is considered the longest ever in the Major Leagues — despite the fact that the Giants’ run actually included one tie game, which wasn’t counted toward official statistics.
“It’s pretty special,” said Indians manager Terry Francona, who has played down the streak in a bid to ease pressure on his players, who haven’t lost a game since Aug. 23.
The Indians have outscored opponents 139-35 during the 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.”
Indians starting pitcher Mike Clevinger 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 gave up four runs in four innings and took the loss.
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but the Indians responded promptly.
Francisco Lindor led off the bottom of the first with a double into the right field corner.
Lonnie Chisenhall struck out but Jose Ramirez drew a walk. Farmer struck out Edwin Encarnacion for the second out, but Bruce hit a fly ball to left field that just made it over the wall for a three-run homer and a 3-1 lead.
The Indians scored again in a testy third inning in which Detroit manager Brad Ausums and catcher James McCann were ejected.
Jose Ramirez doubled with two outs and scored on a bloop single to right field by Encarnacion to extend the Indians’ lead to 4-1.
Bruce, the next hitter, took a close pitch for ball four. McCann said something to home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott, and was immediately thrown out of the game.
Ausmus, who was on his way to the mound, detoured to the plate to argue further and he, too, was sent packing.
With Carlos Santana, the next hitter, at the plate, and John Hicks, the next catcher, behind it, Farmer threw a fastball that Hicks reached for but missed. The ball hit Wolcott in the left shoulder, knocking him on his back. After a brief delay, Wolcott remained in the game.
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 dwindled to 4-3.
Farmer and relief pitcher Daniel Norris combined to retire 11 straight batters through the middle innings.
But the Indians stretched their lead to 5-3 when Perez smacked an 0-2 pitch from Norris over the center field wall.
The Indians have trailed for only 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.
Bruce said the key was not to focus on all the victories piling up and the historical implications as they do.
“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. — AFP