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Miguel Cabrera exits game with lower back tightness

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Tigers’ first baseman Miguel Cabrera left Saturday’s game with another case of lower back tightness, the team announced. It’s the fifth time the veteran slugger has been sidelined with back pain this season and very well could be the last, though he’s expected to be day-to-day for the time being.

Cabrera lasted just four innings against the White Sox, going 0-for-2 before he was pulled prior to the start of the fifth inning. No specific event appeared to trigger the injury, but he was left flailing at the plate against right-hander Reynaldo Lopez and went 0-for-2 before John Hicks relieved him in the top of the fifth inning. Hicks, meanwhile, collected a single in his first at-bat of the night and was left stranded after Lopez induced back-to-back outs from Nicholas Castellanos and Jeimer Candelario.

It’s been a rough season for Cabrera and doesn’t figure to get any easier as the regular season winds down. He’s batting .249/.331/.404 with 16 home runs and a .734 OPS after missing 44 days to various injuries and another six days to a lengthy suspension for participating in the Yankees-Tigers brawl last month. While the severity of his most recent injury remains to be determined, it’s not preposterous to suggest that he might not return to the field in 2017. The last time he was derailed with a back injury, he missed a full 18 days without landing on the DL. The Tigers don’t have that kind of time at this point in the year, and a playoff run is well out of reach thanks to the Indians’ 22-game surge.

Back in August, club manager Brad Ausmus pointed out that Cabrera’s lingering health issues would likely be an ongoing problem, especially with no clear root cause and no clear path to an effective treatment. “Quite frankly, I think he‚Äôs going to have to deal with it the rest of his career,” he told reporters. So far, that prediction doesn’t seem to be off the mark.

Indians win their 21st game in a row

Associated Press
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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: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

Associated Press
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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 9, White Sox 4: The Indians finally trailed in a game — down 4-3 in the first inning, for their first time behind in 68 frames — but they continued their winning ways, taking their 13th game in a row.¬†¬†Jose Ramirez, who just won Player of the Week honors, started on a second straight week of dominance by¬†hitting two more homers. Here Cleveland’s starter, Danny Salazar, couldn’t make it out of the first inning, allowing those four runs, but seven Indians relievers combined for eight and a third scoreless innings. If the Indians take their 14th straight game today, they’ll tie the franchise record winning streak.

Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 2: This one went 19 innings and ended after 1AM. Ending it: a¬†Mookie Betts double to lead off the inning followed by a walkoff bloop single from Hanley¬†Ramirez. It would’ve ended hours earlier in the Blue Jays favor if not for Ramirez and Mitch Moreland each grounding out to plate a run in the bottom of the ninth to tie it up at two. That wasted a fantastic performance from Marco Estrada, who tossed seven shutout innings. A long game is hard on everyone, but I guess the bright side of this is that, given that they couldn’t do anything against Estrada, it’s probably evidence that the Red Sox have stopped cheating.

Pirates 4, Cubs 3: Down 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth,¬†Max Moroff¬†and¬†David Freese¬†hit RBI singles to bring the Pirates back from behind.¬†Jordan Luplow¬†homered. The Pirates starter, Steven Brault, didn’t get the decision, but he was the first lefty to start for Pittsburgh all year, which is weird.

Tigers 13, Royals 2: Big day for Tigers first baseman John Hicks, who homered twice and drove in four.  JaCoby Jones homered twice as well, and the Tigers won easily despite losing starter Anibal Sanchez after only five pitches into the game when he was hit on the leg with a come backer.

Reds 9, Brewers 3: It was close until the bottom of the seventh when the Reds plated five runs. Three of those came on a Scooter Gennett homer. Robert Stephenson allowed one run over six for the win. Milwaukee has dropped two straight to the lowly Reds on days when the Cubs have lost, blowing a chance to make up ground.

Phillies 9, Mets 1: Ben Lively was a one man gang, allowing one run over seven innings and drove in four runs via a two-run homer and a two-run single. He and the Phillies rocked Jacob deGrom, who allowed nine runs — six earned — on ten hits in three and a third, including that homer to Lively. Lively homered in his last start too, and is now¬†6-for-21 (.286) with two home runs and eight RBI on the year.

Nationals 2, Marlins 1: Stephen Strasburg tosses six shutout innings, running his total to 26 consecutive scoreless innings, and struck out eight. He might’ve gone longer but suffered from some cramps that caused him to leave early. Daniel Murphy‘s eighth inning homer was the difference offensively. He almost had another one earlier but Giancarlo Stanton robbed it from him by reaching over the wall to snag it:

Rays 2, Twins 1: Jake Odorizzi¬†took a no-hitter into the seventh and ended up with six and two-thirds shutout innings to get the win. Probably good that it was broken up, of course, as he needed 90 pitches to get that far and thus never would’ve been able to go the distance. Lucas Duda supplied all of the Rays offense, with an RBI double and a solo homer.

Rockies 9, Giants 6:¬†Trevor Story¬†homered and Nolan Arenado hit an RBI double as the Rockies rode a four-run sixth inning to their eighth straight win over the Giants at Coors Field. Colorado used nine pitchers.¬†Pablo Sandoval¬†went 0-for-4. He walked, but he’s now hitless in 37 straight at-bats. Woof.

Orioles 7, Yankees 6: Manny Machado hit a walkoff two-run homer with two outs to give the O’s the win. This came after Baltimore was down five. It also came when Dellin Betances threw a bunch of breaking balls instead of fastballs. Betances said after the game that he should’ve thrown more fastballs. Ya think?

Angels 8, Athletics 7:¬†¬†Ben Revere¬†lined a go-ahead single in the top of the 10th inning and the Angels took over the second Wild Card spot with this win combined with the Twins loss. Mike Trout was thrown out at the plate twice: once in the third inning when he tried to score from third on a grounder, then again in the fifth when he tried to get home from second on a single. You win when that happens and you’re living a charmed life.

Astros 3, Mariners 1: Welcome to the Astros, Justin Verlander. Houston’s newest pitcher tossed six innings, allowing one run and striking out seven. His only blemish: a solo homer to Kyle Seager in the fourth. His run support came via an Alex¬†Bregman sac fly and a homer from former Tigers teammate Cameron Maybin.

Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 1: Arizona wins its 12th straight and the Dodgers drop their fifth straight and tenth in their last 11. Here Zack Greinke and¬†Hyun-Jin Ryu each allowed a run but didn’t figure in the decision. In the tenth Pedro Baez walked the first two batters he faced and then both of them scored on a fielder’s choice + error combo when Justin Turner threw home and Yasmani Grandal couldn’t handle it. Things suck hard for the Dodgers right now, but every good team goes through a bad stretch. The key is, you know, getting out of it.

Cardinals 8, Padres 4: Jose Martinez hit two home runs and Harrison Bader¬†homered and drove in three. Travis Wood didn’t pitch all that well for San Diego, but he did hit a two-run homer.

Rangers vs. Braves — POSTPONED:

You shatter me your grip on me a hold on me
So dull it kills
You stifle me
Infectious sense of
Hopelessness and prayers for rain
I suffocate
I breathe in dirt
And nowhere shines but desolate
And drab the hours all spent on killing time
Again all waiting for the rain