RECAP: Cleveland Indians win 21st straight game with 5-3 victory over Detroit Tigers
3:10 p.m.-CLEVELAND INDIANS WIN AL RECORD 21ST STRAIGHT GAME WITH 5-3 VICTORY OVER DETROIT TIGERS
CLEVELAND -- In the 118-year history of the American League, no team has won more consecutive games than the Cleveland Indians.
With their 5-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers (60-85) at Progressive Field Wednesday afternoon, the Indians (90-56) won their 21st consecutive game, which broke a tie with the 2002 Oakland Athletics for the longest winning streak in AL history.
Only the 1916 New York Giants (26) have won more consecutive games than the 2017 Indians, who equaled the 1880 Chicago White Stockings and 1935 Chicago Cubs for the second-most prolific winning streak in Major League history.
Currently, the Indians own the American League’s best record and lead the Central Division by 14 games over the Minnesota Twins, who face off against the San Diego Padres in Minneapolis Wednesday night. The Indians’ “Magic Number” to clinch their second straight AL Central Division Championship and a return trip to the postseason now stands at four.
2:54 p.m.-GIOVANNY URSHELA COMES UP BIG IN TOP OF EIGHTH
CLEVELAND -- Despite having to make multiple changes to the infield lineup because of injuries, those who have played for the Cleveland Indians have done well, and that includes third baseman Giovanny Urshela, who put his glove work on display in the top of the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers Wednesday.
One batter after pitcher Bryan Shaw made an error that cost him an out, Tigers catcher John Hicks smashed a grounder toward the hole at shortstop, but Urshela dove to his left, corralled the ball and muscled a throw over to second base for the second out of the inning.
Then, Urshela backhanded a grounder along the foul line and fired a throw over to first base for the final out of the inning.
Urshela’s defensive efforts helped preserve Cleveland’s 5-3 lead.
2:41 p.m.-ROBERTO PEREZ BELTS SIXTH HOMER IN SEVENTH INNING
CLEVELAND -- Hitting a home run with an 0-2 count is not something Cleveland Indians catcher Roberto Perez had done before in his Major League career, but that changed in the bottom of the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers.
With reliever Daniel Norris still on the mound, Perez smashed the pitch over the 19-foot tall section of the wall in center field for his sixth home run of the season and fifth of the year at Progressive Field. Perez’s blast gave the Indians a 5-3 lead over the Tigers.
2:37 p.m.-INDIANS BULLPEN SETS DOWN THE TIGERS
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians’ bullpen had to work for it, but they set down the Detroit Tigers in order, 1-2-3, in the top of the seventh inning to preserve a 4-3 lead at Progressive Field.
With Nick Goody still on the mound after finishing the sixth inning, Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias popped out to Giovanny Urshela at third base on an 0-2 pitch. Then, after taking a first-pitch ball, second baseman Ian Kinsler struck out swinging.
After Kinsler walked to the dugout, Indians manager Terry Francona headed to the mound and pulled Goody in favor of Tyler Olson. Against left fielder Alex Presley, the southpaw reliever fought through an eight-pitch at-bat to get a foul out to catcher Roberto Perez to end the inning.
2:18 p.m.-TIGERS CUT INTO INDIANS LEAD
CLEVELAND -- The Detroit Tigers cut the Cleveland Indians’ lead down to 4-3 with two runs in the top of the sixth inning off of starter Mike Clevinger.
Designated hitter Miguel Cabrera led off the inning with a sharply hit ball to third baseman Yandy Diaz. However, Diaz was off the mark with his throw over to Carlos Santana at first base, and the ball caromed into the seats, allowing Cabrera to advance to second.
Then, right fielder Nicholas Castellanos crushed a 1-0 pitch to the wall in left-center field for an RBI double. Later in the inning, Castellanos moved over to third base on a groundout from catcher John Hicks, and scored when first baseman Andrew Romine looped a two-strike fastball over the heart of the plate into right field for an RBI single.
Romine’s hit drove Clevinger from the game after 5.2 innings of work, but in relief, Nick Goody struck out center fielder JaCoby Jones swinging for the final out of the frame.
2:01 p.m.-DEFENSIVE PLAYS, SPRINKLER DELAY DEFINE BOTTOM OF FIFTH
CLEVELAND -- The Detroit Tigers’ defense did relief pitcher Daniel Norris plenty of favors in the bottom of the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians in a battle of American League Central Division teams at Progressive Field Wednesday.
Leading off the bottom of the fifth, left fielder Lonnie Chisenhall rocketed a sinking line drive to center field. However, JaCoby Jones made a sliding catch for the first out of the inning. Then, on a 2-0 pitch from Norris, second baseman Jose Ramirez flared a pitch toward the grass in right field, but first baseman Andrew Romine was able to track it down.
Following a brief delay in the game when the left-field sprinklers turned on, Indians designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion popped out to shortstop Jose Iglesias to end the inning. Iglesias was able to track the ball despite fighting the light from the midday sun.
1:54 p.m.-DOUBLE PLAY HELPS CLEVINGER FACE MINIMUM IN FIFTH INNING
CLEVELAND -- A 6-4-3 double play after a leadoff walk got Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Mike Clevinger through the fifth inning of his start against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field Wednesday.
After issuing a leadoff walk to shortstop Jose Iglesias on just four pitches, Clevinger got second baseman Ian Kinsler to ground into the double play. Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor dropped to a knee to field the grounder and tossed it over to second baseman Jose Ramirez to cut down the lead runner. Then, Ramirez lobbed a throw over to Carlos Santana at first base to complete the double play.
Santana fielded a grounder from left fielder Alex Presley and hustled to the base for the final out of the frame.
1:49 p.m.-THREE UP, THREE DOWN FOR INDIANS IN FOURTH
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians went down in order for the second time in four trips to the plate in the fourth inning against Detroit Tigers starter Buck Farmer.
Center fielder Tyler Naquin grounded a 2-2 pitch to second base, while catcher Roberto Perez went down swinging at a third strike, and then, shortstop Francisco Lindor grounded a 1-0 offering to Tigers first baseman Andrew Romine for the final out of the inning.
Despite the quick at-bat, the Indians maintained their 4-1 lead over the Tigers after four innings of play at Progressive Field.
1:41 p.m.-TIGERS GO 1-2-3 IN TOP OF FOURTH
CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians starter Mike Clevinger had long innings over the first third of the game, but that was anything but the case in the top of the fourth frame against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field Wednesday.
Clevinger needed just nine pitches to set down the Tigers, 1-2-3, as he got catcher John Hicks and center fielder JaCoby Jones to ground out to second base and shortstop, respectively, and first baseman Andrew Romine to pop out to second.
1:33 p.m.-INDIANS TACK ON A RUN IN THIRD
CLEVELAND -- A hustle play with two outs from second baseman Jose Ramirez led to an extended showing from the Cleveland Indians’ offense and a run being pushed across the plate in the bottom of the third inning.
On a 3-1 pitch from Detroit Tigers starter Buck Farmer, Ramirez hit a ball toward the alley in right-center field, and by hustling out of the batter’s box, was able to slide in safely under the tag for his Major League-leading 48th double of the season.
Then, on a 1-0 pitch from Farmer, designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion looped an RBI single to right field, which gave the Indians a 4-1 lead over the Tigers.
The Indians went on to load the bases with back-to-back walks to outfielder Jay Bruce and first baseman Carlos Santana, the prior of which led to the ejections of Tigers catcher James McCann and manager Brad Ausmus. Then, Farmer threw a pitch that missed the glove of backup catcher John Hicks and decked home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott in the left collarbone before ricocheting and hitting him in the mask.
After being attended to briefly by medical personnel and his fellow umpires, Wolcott resumed his duties behind the plate, and the Indians ended the inning with the bases loaded as infielder Yandy Diaz lined out to left for the final out.
1:13 p.m.-CLEVINGER WORKS AROUND TROUBLE IN THIRD
CLEVELAND -- The Detroit Tigers tested Cleveland Indians starter Mike Clevinger again in the top of the third inning, but the lanky right-hander responded by striking out the Nos. 3 and 5 hitters in the lineup to end the offensive threat.
With left fielder Alex Presley and right fielder Nicholas Castellanos on with singles to left and center, respectively, Clevinger struck out third baseman Jeimer Candelario looking on a pitch on the outside corner of the plate to end the frame.
Earlier in the third, Clevinger struck out Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera looking with Presley on at first base.
12:43 p.m.-JAY BRUCE BELTS THREE-RUN HOMER
CLEVELAND -- With one swing of the bat, outfielder Jay Bruce turned a one-run deficit into a 3-1 lead for the Cleveland Indians, as he belted a 1-1 pitch from Detroit Tigers starter Buck Farmer over the wall in left-center field for a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning.
Originally ruled a home run, Bruce’s hit was called under review by the crew chief, but video replay confirmed the call on the field. With the confirmation of the home run, Bruce matched a single-season career high with his 34th round-tripper of the season, his fifth since being acquired by the Indians.
Shortstop Francisco Lindor got the Indians going with a lead-off double down the right-field line, and two batters later, fellow infielder Jose Ramirez worked his way to a walk. Then, after designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion struck out swinging, Bruce came up to the plate and put the Indians in front.
12:20 p.m.-TIGERS TAKE EARLY LEAD
CLEVELAND -- The Detroit Tigers did something not many teams have been able to against the Cleveland Indians during their 20-game winning streak, and that is take an early lead, as they pushed across a run in the top of the first inning at Progressive Field.
Left fielder Alex Presley got the rally going with a one-out single to deep left field, and two batters later, right fielder Nicholas Castellanos drew a walk, which set the table for third baseman Jeimer Candelario, who hit a two-out RBI double to the wall in left-center field.
The Tigers’ early tally came from their patience at the plate, as Castellanos and Candelario both were down in the count, 1-2, before reaching base safely.
11:45 a.m.-CLEVELAND INDIANS GO FOR CONSECUTIVE WIN NO. 21
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians have their chance at American League history when they take to the diamond against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field this afternoon.
Just hours after tying the Oakland Athletics for the most consecutive victories (20) since the beginning of the expansion era (1961 to present) with a 2-0 victory over the Tigers behind a complete game shutout performance against the Tigers Tuesday night, and they will go for No. 21 in the series finale with Detroit.
“We understand that we’re playing well, and we understand that there is a streak obviously alive, but it’s not something that’s consuming us at all,” outfielder Jay Bruce said. “We’re in a good position right now. We’re not done yet. We’re still trying to win games.
“I’ve said it a couple times in a row, a couple days in a row now. We’re trying to win today, and that’s really all we’re worried about. We’re not worried about what’s happened in the past. We’re not worried about what could be or what can happen. We’re just playing baseball and we’re playing good baseball. We have a good team, so that’s what happens when you have a group of guys that come in and prepare and are ready to go.”
The Indians will turn to right-handed starter Mike Clevinger against the Tigers. On the season, Clevinger has a 9-5 record with a 3.30 earned run average. However, Clevinger is 3-2 with a 4.14 ERA in home appearances.
Although Detroit’s Buck Farmer is 3-0 with a 2.12 ERA on the road, he is 0-1 with three hits and five earned runs allowed in just three innings of work in his only start of the year against the Indians.
With Tuesday’s record-tying win over the Tigers (60-84), the Indians (89-56) reduced their “Magic Number” to clinch their second straight American League Central Division Championship and trip to the MLB Playoffs to five and maintained a 13.5-game lead over the Minnesota Twins.