The Indians are now proud owners of a 15-game winning streak after defeating the White Sox 11-2 in Chicago on Thursday evening. The offense jumped on White Sox starter Mike Pelfrey for seven runs in the first three innings and never looked back.
Four runs came in the first inning on an RBI double from Austin Jackson and a three-run home run from Edwin Encarnacion. After the White Sox got solo homers from Yolmer Sanchez and Jose Abreu to cut the lead in half, the Indians got a run back in the second on Francisco Lindor‘s solo homer. In the third, Erik Gonzalez blasted a two-run shot to make it 7-2. Gonzalez added a sacrifice fly and Greg Allen hit a two-run homer in a three-run seventh. Gonzalez tacked on a solo homer in the ninth.
Meanwhile, Corey Kluber was excellent. He gave up just the two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out 13. He’s strengthening his case in the AL Cy Young Award race. The right-hander now has a 2.56 ERA with a 235/34 K/BB ratio in 175 2/3 innings.
Shawn Armstrong pitched a scoreless eighth in relief of Kluber. Craig Breslow tossed a scoreless ninth to seal the deal.
The Indians’ 15-game winning streak is only the 23rd streak of at least that length dating back to 1913, according to Baseball Reference. The last team to win at least 15 in a row was the 2002-03 Giants, who won 15 straight from September 20, 2002 to April 7, 2003. Within one season, the 2002 Athletics have that honor. They won 20 straight between August 13 and September 4. The longest winning streak without a tie since 1913 is 21 by the 1935 Cubs (September 4-27). The 1916 New York Giants won 26 games without losing, but also had a tie in the 13th game of a 27-game span.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.