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Indians beat Braves for longest winning streak in 34 years

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ATLANTA — Carlos Santana hit a tie-breaking single in Cleveland’s three-run ninth inning, Corey Kluber allowed only three hits in eight innings and the Indians beat the Atlanta Braves 5-3 on Tuesday night for their 11th straight win.

The winning streak is Cleveland’s longest in 34 years.

Arodys Vizcaino (1-3) walked Tyler Naquin to open the ninth and then walked Juan Uribe on four pitches. With pinch-runnerRajai Davis at first base, pinch-hitter Michael Martinez struck out.

Vizcaino was in danger of issuing another walk when Santana lined a 3-1 pitch to right field, driving in Naquin from second base.

Braves shortstop Erick Aybar mishandled Francisco Lindor‘s grounder for an error, allowing Davis to score. Jose Ramirez added a run-scoring single up the middle.

Kluber (8-7), coming off a shutout of Tampa Bay, didn’t allow a hit through five innings. The right-hander allowed two runs on three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts.

Atlanta’s Jace Peterson hit a homer off Cody Allen in the ninth, giving him a nine-game hitting streak. A review confirmed Ender Inciarte was out on a close play at first after Santana bobbled a grounder before tossing to Allen at the bag.

Braves interim manager Brian Snitker and outfielder Jeff Francoeur, who was not playing, came out of the dugout to argue. Bench coach Terry Pendleton pulled Francoeur back to the dugout.

Freddie Freeman added a triple off the center-field wall before Allen ended the game on Nick Markakis‘ fly ball to left field for his 15th save.

The Indians’ winning streak is their longest since 11 straight wins from May 23-June 4, 1982. Cleveland began the day leading second-place Kansas City by five games in the AL Central. It was the Indians’ biggest lead in five years.

Inciarte’s two-run single in the sixth tied the game.

Atlanta right-hander Matt Wisler set a career high with nine strikeouts while allowing two runs on six hits in six innings.

Wisler gave up two runs in the first. Jason Kipnis singled and scored on Lindor’s single. Lindor later scored from third on a delayed double steal. It was Lindor’s first career steal of home.

The Royals are paying everyone. Why can’t all of the other teams?

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Over the past several weeks we’ve heard a lot of news about teams furloughing front office and scouting staff, leveling pay cuts for those who remain and, most recently, ceasing stipends to minor league players and releasing them en masse. The message being sent, intentionally or otherwise, is that baseball teams are feeling the pinch.

The Kansas City Royals, however, are a different story.

Jon Heyman reported this afternoon that the Royals are paying their minor leaguers through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended, and unlike so many other teams, they are not releasing players either. Jeff Passan, meanwhile, reports that the Royals will not lay any team employees off or furlough anyone. “Nearly 150 employees will not take pay cuts,” he says, though “higher-level employees will take tiered cuts.” Passan adds that the organization intends to restore the lost pay due to those higher-level employees in the future when revenue ramps back up, making them whole.

While baseball finances are murky at best and opaque in most instances, most people agree that the Royals are one of the lower-revenue franchises in the game. They are also near the bottom as far as franchise value goes. Finally, they have the newest ownership group in all of baseball, which means that the group almost certainly has a lot of debt and very little if any equity in the franchise. Any way you slice it, cashflow is likely tighter in Kansas City than almost anywhere else.

Yet the Royals are paying minor leaguers and front office employees while a great number of other teams are not. What’s their excuse?