Drew Romine

Associated Press

Indians win their 21st game in a row

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The Cleveland Indians beat the Detroit Tigers this afternoon to take their 21st straight game, setting a new American League record for consecutive wins. The previous record, as we have noted, was held by the 2002 Oakland Athletics.

Cleveland fell behind 1-0 in the first inning but roared back to take a 3-1 lead thanks to a three-run homer by Jay Bruce in the bottom half of the inning. They added another run via an Edwin Encarnacion RBI single in the third. The Tigers brought it to within one run in the sixth thanks to RBIs from Nicholas Castellanos and Andrew Romine, but Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez‘s homer in the seventh put the Tribe up by two. Maybe it could’ve been more than a 5-3 margin, but Carlos Santana was thrown out by about 20 feet trying to stretch a triple into an inside-the-park homer to end the bottom of the eighth. Can’t blame the Indians for feeling frisky lately.

Two interesting things of note during this game. In the bottom of the third, both Tigers catcher James McCann and manager Brad Ausmus were ejected for arguing balls and strikes. During the argument, Ausmus could be overheard yelling “Don’t get caught up in them winning 20 games!” which yeah, is the sort of thing that’ll get you tossed. Right after that, the home plate umpire was hit when replacement catcher John Hicks couldn’t snag a trailing fastball. Dallas Braden, for his part, thought that it may have been an intentional miss by Hicks in order to get the ump smacked:

I won’t go that far — it was a pitch with a lot of movement and the catcher had just entered the game, not really expecting to play — but viva conspiracies.

Later the sprinklers at Progressive Field went off in the middle of the game:

As for the streak: in addition to the American League record, the 21st straight win ties the mark set by the 1935 Chicago Cubs which, until now, we’ve been referring to as the all-time record winning streak. The reasoning for that: most sources have noted that a longer unbeaten streak — 26 straight by the 1916 New York Giants — was interrupted by a tie, called due to darkness, in the middle of the run. Based on that, we’ve been content to call the Cubs’ mark the record.

As Chris Cwik of Yahoo wrote a couple of hours ago, though, there’s a strong argument that the tie shouldn’t matter and that the Giants should be credited with the longest winning streak. Read Chris’ article for the full explanation, but the short version is that the tie didn’t really count. They played a doubleheader the next day and the Giants won ’em both.¬†Without taking anything away from the 1935 Cubs or the 2017 Indians, I think the Giants have a better claim to the all-time record.

Whatever you think about that, though — and depending on what Major League Baseball says about it if it actually weighs in on it — what the Indians are doing right now is undeniably great. Tomorrow they host Kansas City for a shot at 22.

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 6, Angels 2: Nowadays, everybody wanna talk like they got somethin’ to say, but nothin’ comes out when they move their lips, just a bunch of gibberish, and motherf*****s act like they forgot about Clay.

Specifically: a¬†couple of times a year people write things about how so-and-so is now the best pitcher in baseball, unseating Clayton Kershaw. We’ve seen that with Max Scherzer a bit lately. Funny thing, though: the names of Kershaw’s would-be usurpers keep changing and Kershaw keeps on being the best pitcher in baseball. Here he allowed one run — unearned — over seven innings and struck out 12 for his 12th win of the year. It’s comical how much better he is than anyone else in the game. Maybe people should stop trying to say otherwise until, you know, it’s true. In other news Chase Utley and Yasiel Puig homered and Joc Pederson drove in three.

Padres 6, Braves 0: Rookie Dinelson Lamet shut the Braves out for seven innings, striking out eight and the Padres beat the hell out of Jaime Garcia. Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe went deep and Manuel Margot went three for four and drove in two. Between names like Lamet and Margot it’s as if the Padres decided that signing 19th century Impressionist painters was the new inefficiency.

Indians 5, Rangers 1: Corey Kluber allowed one run over eight and struck out 12. Andrew Cashner got hit with a dang bat. That kind of sums things up.

Tigers 7, Royals 3: Michael Fulmer took a shutout into the ninth. That didn’t hold up as he ran out of gas and the Royals scored three, but he had plenty of room to work with thanks to the Tigers offense. Justin Upton hit a three-run shot in the first. Ian Kinselr and Andrew Romine added blasts of their own. The Tigers took two of three fro the Royals.

Astros 6, Athletics 1: Carlos Correa hit two homers, knocking in four.¬†Houston is 10-2 against the Athletics this season. They’re 17-2 against them dating back to last July.

Cardinals 10, Diamondbacks 4:¬†Randal Grichuk¬†continues that post minor league stint surge we talked about earlier this week. He hit homers on Sunday and Monday and here he¬†a go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh and drove in five overall. He went 0-for-8 on Tuesday and Wednesday but we’ll let that slide. Lance Lynn¬†allowed three runs and four hits in six innings, striking out seven.

Cubs 5, Nationals 4: Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but the Nats bullpen couldn’t hold a ninth inning lead.¬†Jon Jay hit a go-ahead two-run double during a three-run ninth-inning rally against Nats reliever¬†Blake Treinen. The Nats have blown 13 saves this season. That ties them with the Mets and Phillies for the worst mark in the league. Oh, and the Nats lost Trea Turner to a wrist fracture, so yesterday was basically a nightmare.

Red Sox 6, Twins 3: David Price allowed three runs over seven innings but finished stronger than he began which is a good sign. Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez hit solo home runs, and Jackie Bradley Jr. had three hits and an RBI.

Pirates 4, Rays 0: Jameson Taillon pitched shutout ball into the seventh and the pen took it home. Gregory Polanco and John Jaso hit solo home runs as the Pirates win their fourth in their last six.

Orioles 2, Blue Jays 0: Every once in a while Ubaldo Jimenez looks unhittable. It’s rare — you see it about as often as you see the International Space Station fly overhead on a clear, starry night, but it does happen. Here he allowed two hits over eight shutout innings striking out eight. He gave up nine in his last start. I dunno, you tell me.

Brewers 11, Reds 3: Homer Bailey‘s return is not going swimmingly. Here he was shelled for six runs — and gave up three homers — over three innings. I guess that’s an improvement. Last time he allowed eight runs in an inning and two-thirds. His counterpart, Jimmy Nelson, struck out 11 over seven innings of work, allowing two. Jesus Aguilar hit a three-run homer and drove in four for Milwaukee.

Mets 6, Marlins 3: The Mets took a 4-0 lead after three innings thanks to Jay Bruce, who doubled in and singled in runs, and T.J. Rivera who doubled in singled in runs as well. Seth Lugo allowed three runs — two earned — over six innings. The Mets’ ten game road trip began with them losing four in a row to the Dodgers. It ended with them winning five of the final six. They’ll take it.

White Sox 4, Yankees 3: A heartbreaking disaster here as Yankees outfield prospect Dustin Fowler was called up and made his major league debut last night only to suffer a gruesome, season-ending injury in the first inning after slamming his knee on a railing while trying to make a catch. The Yankees announced he suffered an open rupture of his right patellar tendon. He underwent immediate surgery. Really, really sad. James Shields pitched into the seventh inning, allowing two earned runs. The Yankees lost for the the 12th time in 16 games.

And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the rest of Saturday’s scores and highlights:

Athletics 10, White Sox 2: Matt Olson, Jaycob Brugman and Franklin Barreto stole the spotlight on Saturday, going deep for the first home runs of their respective major league careers. Not only was it a franchise first for the Athletics, but it was the first time three rookies accomplished the feat for any major league team to date. The last trio to pull it off did so for the Kansas City Packers of the Federal League, when Duke Kenworthy, Art Kruger and John Potts went yard for their first home runs in 1914.

Lost in all the mayhem? James Shieldscareer 2,000th strikeout, a 1-2 knuckle curveball that caught Khris Davis looking to end the second inning.

Rangers 8, Yankees 1: Aaron Judge may be unstoppable, but the Yankees are not. The rookie slugger collected his league-best 26th home run on Saturday afternoon, putting the Yankees on the board with a solo shot during the sixth inning.

It was a mistake Texas’ right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx wouldn’t make again, shutting down four of the next five batters he faced and leaving the bullpen to polish off the win with two scoreless frames.

Royals 3, Blue Jays 2: Jason Vargas may not have the pinpoint control of Ivan Nova or the sheer strikeout power of Chris Sale, but as of Saturday afternoon, he now owns the best record in the American League. He cruised to his 11th win against the Blue Jays, spinning seven innings of two-run ball and striking out just two of 27 batters. Marco Estrada matched him pitch for pitch, but lost the edge after Alex Gordon tripled to break the 2-2 tie in the seventh.

Nationals 18, Reds 3:¬†It’s safe to say this was not the season debut Homer Bailey had been anticipating. The veteran right-hander was activated from the 60-day disabled list on Saturday and lasted just 1 2/3 innings against the Nationals’ blistering offensive drive. A six-run second inning forced Bailey’s early exit and brought his ERA to a bloated 43.20 mark after he surrendered eight runs on six hits and two walks. Trea Turner and Michael Taylor were the centerpiece of the Nationals’ 18-run drubbing, combining for nine hits, two home runs and five RBI as the Nats coasted to their 45th win of the year.

Orioles 8, Rays 3:¬†Goodbye, ugly losing streak. Hello, Dylan Bundy. The Orioles pulled within five games of the division lead on Saturday, giving up fewer than five runs for the first time since June 2. Bundy led the charge, issuing three runs on five hits and four walks and striking out eight over seven innings for his eighth win of the season. An explosive four-run effort propelled the club to a comfortable lead in the seventh inning, while Manny Machado‘s eighth-inning sac fly put the finishing touches on an 8-3 finale.

Cubs 5, Marlins 3:¬†After 12 years in the majors, Cubs’ veteran lefty Jon Lester still had some career firsts left to record — including his first win against the Marlins. He cut through Miami’s lineup with expert precision during Saturday’s win, giving up a J.T. Realmuto home run in the first inning and settling down to retire 18 of the next 20 batters he faced. The next team on his list? The Red Sox, whom the Cubs are not scheduled to face this season (barring a chance meeting in the World Series, of course).

Braves 3, Brewers 1:¬†Is R.A. Dickey… good again? The knuckleballer commanded his third quality start on Saturday, squelching the Brewers’ offense with just one run and six strikeouts over seven innings. His only snafu came in the first inning, when he turned to pick off Travis Shaw at third base and was instead penalized with a balk, his first of the year.

The Freeze, meanwhile, was not nearly as successful as his parent club, missing the finish line by mere inches during the customary between-inning sprint around the warning track.

Twins 4, Indians 2: There’s nothing more tragic than a solid pitching effort gone to waste. Corey Kluber allowed two runs and fanned 13 batters for his fifth quality start and second no-decision of the month, dropping what looked like a guaranteed win after Brian Dozier and Chris Gimenez reclaimed the lead with a pair of home runs in the eighth and ninth.

Angels 6, Red Sox 3:¬†Not everyone was as delighted about Kole Calhoun‘s run-scoring balk as the Angels were. Calhoun plated a run in the seventh inning after Fernando Abad stopped his delivery on a 3-1 pitch, boosting the Angels’ lead to three runs and eventually securing their 6-3 win. Neither Abad nor Red Sox manager John Farrell saw eye-to-eye with crew chief Bill Miller, however, and contested the ruling after Abad claimed that he inadvertently balked after seeing Calhoun call for a time out.

Mets 5, Giants 2:¬†From injuries to slumps, it’s been a rough ride for the Mets this month. Enter Jacob deGrom, who crafted his third consecutive quality start with eight innings of one-run ball, striking out seven and going 1-for-3 with a single against the Giants’ Johnny Cueto. The Giants, on the other hand, became the first team to record 50 losses this season after the bullpen blew a 1-1 tie in the eighth.

Pirates 7, Cardinals 3:¬†Look, there may be plenty of legitimate baseball-related reasons to skip out on a wedding reception. I can’t think of any compelling enough to leave your own wedding, however, at least not just to watch Lance Lynn give up seven runs during the Cardinals’ 40th loss of the year.

Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

Dodgers 4, Rockies 0:¬†Clayton Kershaw is still very, very good. After faltering in a six-run outing against the Mets last week, the Dodgers’ ace returned with six shutout innings against the Rockies, striking out eight and matching Jason Vargas’ league-best 11 wins. He manufactured his own run support, too, drawing a bases-loaded walk in the third inning to cement the club’s four-run lead:

Padres 7, Tigers 3:¬†The Tigers continued their eight-game skid with a tough loss at PETCO Park on Saturday, marring six solid innings from Anibal Sanchez with a five-run implosion in the eighth inning. Andrew Romine put up two of the Tigers’ three runs on an RBI double and single, but wasn’t able to single-handedly rally from a four-run deficit in the ninth.

Astros 5, Mariners 2: Sometimes, it’s difficult to identify the exact moment when a game swings out of control. Other times, it’s all too obvious. For the Mariners, that moment could be traced back to one line drive in the seventh inning:

In Mitch Haniger‘s defense, clearing 69 feet in under five seconds is a feat few can pull off, even with the game on the line.

Diamondbacks 9, Phillies 2:¬†Nothing the Diamondbacks and Phillies did — not even the Ben Lively home run that made this play possible — was as impressive as the coordination and grace of this lone D-backs fan: