Roberto Perez

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: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Nationals 3, Phillies 2: The Nats become the first team to clinch a playoff spot this year, though they had to wait until the Braves-Marlins game ended to make it official. Here Stephen Strasburg tossed eight shutout innings — making it 34 straight scoreless innings for him — and struck out ten. It’s the Nats’ fourth division title in six years. Now all they have to do is figure out how to advance past the Division Series. Until then, at least we have this video of Anthony Rendon pouring his celebratory Budweiser down Bryce Harper‘s butt crack:

Braves 10, Marlins 8: The Braves made the Nats wait for the champagne, but they handed the division to Washington all the same with this win. Quite a late rally for the Braves who were trailing 8-5 in the ninth and then saw Rio Ruiz hit a two-run single with two outs to force extras. They then watched Lane Adams hit a two-run homer to walk things off in the 11th. Earlier the Marlins blew a 3-0 lead, then the Braves blew a 5-3 lead, so yeah it was one of those days.

Indians 3, Orioles 2: That’s 18 straight wins for Cleveland. Roberto Perez¬†and¬†Francisco Lindor¬†each hit solo home runs off of Jeremy Hellickson in the bottom of the sixth to give the Tribe the lead for good. The Indians are now in a five-way tie for ninth longest winning streak of all time. Next on the list is the 1947 New York Yankees and the 1906 White Sox, each of which won 19 in a row. At the top the list: the 1916 Giants who won 26 in a row.

Cardinals 7, Pirates 0: Michael Wacha tossed eight shutout innings and Yadier Molina knocked in five runs. St. Louis has won seven of eight and move to within two games behind Chicago in the NL Central.

Brewers 3, Cubs 1: The Brewers are only two back as well after sweeping the Cubs. Travis Shaw hit a two-run homer in the sixth and Zach Davies allowed one run over seven innings. Chicago scored three runs in the whole dang series. The last month will give us a race in the Central after all, it seems.

Rockies 8, Dodgers 1: Holy crap, the Dodgers keep losing. Ten straight now, and 15 of 16. They are the only team in baseball history to both lose 15 of 16 and win 15 of 16 in the same season, so at least their futility is accompanied by some fun trivia. Tyler Chatwood shut ’em out for five innings and three relievers did it for three more innings. Rich Hill ran out of gas at five innings and then the L.A. bullpen imploded, mostly via a Mark Reynolds grand slam, surrendered by Walker Buehler. Frankly it’d be way better if he had given it up on Saturday when L.A. dropped their ninth so we could use that video clip we all like to see when something bad happens for the ninth time. Oh, hell, I had the day off yesterday so let’s use it anyway:

Diamondbacks 3, Padres 2: J.D. Martinez hit two homers and Paul Goldschmidt hit one himself and that’s all there was. Still not gonna say that the Dodgers will choke this thing away, but the Dbacks are now only nine games back. Nine games? NINE GAMES.

Blue Jays 8, Tigers 2:  Teoscar Hernandez is not a player most of us think about all that much but he probably gave Anibal Sanchez nightmares last night after he hit two homers and drove in five. Heck, every Jays batter probably gave Sanchez nightmares after they scored seven runs on 12 hits off of him in less than five innings.

Reds 10, Mets 5: New York had a 5-2 lead heading into the seventh but the Reds tied it up with three that inning and poured it on with two more in the eighth and three more in the ninth. Highlight of the game: Reds manager Bryan Price came out to argue after one of his batters was ejected to end the top of the seventh, then halted the argument during “God Bless America,” and then put his hat back on and continued to argue after the song was over:

Rays 4, Red Sox 1: Wilson Ramos and¬†Lucas Duda¬†each hit a solo homer for the Rays who handed Rick Porcello his 17th loss of the year. There have been 204 20-game losers going back to 1900, but unless I’m missing one, none of them have pitched for a playoff team. Porcello’s Red Sox appear playoff bound and, if he takes all of his remaining turns, he has three starts left. I’m guessing the Sox won’t let it happen, but it sure would be something.

White Sox 8, Giants 1: I thought I had a pretty good weekend — I got a good hike in, made a couple of good meals and on Friday I met two of our commenters emeritus, Paper Lions and Historiophiliac, in actual person — but Jose Abreu hit for the cycle on Saturday and hit two homers and drove in three yesterday, so I guess he wins. Carson Fulmer — who sounds more like a quarterback than a pitcher — allowed one run over six innings and struck out nine. For the record, Paper Lions and Historiophiliac are cool people. Just thought you should know that.

Royals 11, Twins 3: Brandon Moss homered and drove in four and Jason Vargas won for the first time in a good while by allowing one run over five innings. Eric Hosmer had four hits. He had 11 hits in the four-game series against the Twins.

Yankees 16, Rangers 7: Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez each hit two homers. Judge is now over 40 homers for the year, and is eight behind Mark McGwire’s rookie record. Sanchez now has 30 on the year and 50 in his first 161 big league games. That one-two punch is gonna be fun to watch for years. Meanwhile, all¬†Didi Gregorius¬†did was notch four hits while driving in four. The Yankees have won three straight series and stand three and a half games ahead of Minnesota for the AL’s top Wild Card spot.

Athletics 10, Astros 2: A four-game sweep of the mighty Astros by the lowly Athletics, who outscored Houston 41-15 in the series.¬†Matt Chapman,¬†Ryon Healy,¬†Boog Powell¬†and¬†Matt Olson¬†all homered and¬†Kendall Graveman allowed one run over six. The A’s then used five pitchers to finish the final three innings because September.

Angels 5, Mariners 3:¬†Mike Trout¬†and¬†Luis Valbuena¬†hit solo homers and Justin Upton hit a two-run double in the Angels’ decisive three-run eighth inning. The Angels pull to within one game of the Twins for the second Wild Card.

Watch: Bradley Zimmer lays out for an outstanding catch

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Mike Clevinger and Jason Hammel went head-to-head in a true pitcher’s duel on Saturday, each posting several no-hit innings while their respective offenses scrambled to get on the board. Center fielder Bradley Zimmer backed Clevinger’s efforts with a five-star catch in the fifth, bellyflopping on a deep fly ball to preserve the shutout and end the inning.

Zimmer came through again for the Indians again in the bottom of the sixth inning, working a full count against the Royals’ Jason Hammel and lacing a single just under the glove of Alcides Escobar to break up the righty’s perfect game attempt.

That appeared to open the floodgates for the Indians’ offense, who broke through with Roberto Perez‘s two-RBI home run and added two solo shots from Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Santana to take a four-run lead. The Royals, on the other hand, still couldn’t find a toehold against Clevinger, who exited with six frames of four-hit, nine-strikeout ball and left the rest of the shutout in the capable hands of Bryan Shaw, Dan Otero and Cody Allen for the Indians’ third win in a row.