CLEVELAND -- As the Cleveland Indians went through their American League-record 22-game winning streak, which ended with a 4-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals Friday night, the fans flocked to Progressive Field to support the team.

And following the final out of their first loss since August 23, the Indians recognized the fans and showed their gratitude by exiting the dugout, applauding the crowd and tipping their caps to the 34,025 in attendance.

“They’ve been so supportive, and the atmosphere around here is incredible,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.

“I think our players wanted to show their appreciation. This, by no means, is the last game of the year or anything like that. It’s just been pretty incredible how they’ve reacted. We just wanted to show our appreciation because we don’t take it for granted.”

When shortstop Francisco Lindor struck out swinging for the final out of the loss, the fans rose to their feet, nearly in unison, and gave the team a standing ovation for the three-week run of victories that has not happened in Major League Baseball in more than 100 years.

In the history of baseball, only the 1916 New York Giants won more consecutive games, 26, than the 2017 Indians.

“It was kind of like the final hat-tip to the streak, and really appreciated it,” outfielder Jay Bruce said. “It was great. The Royals were very classy too, I thought. Obviously, we didn’t want to lose, but all good things come to an end, and we’re ready to get back to work and continue to play ball.”

According to Francona, throughout the course of the streak, the fans have been so into the games and hanging their hopes on every pitch, that there was a playoff-like atmosphere inside Progressive Field.

And the Indians appreciated that kind of environment now because they are headed back to the postseason, and could clinch their second straight American League Central Division Championship as early as Saturday with a win over the Royals and a Minnesota Twins loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at Target Field in Minneapolis.

“That’s a good thing,” Francona said. “We don’t ever want to downplay that. It’s helpful. Guys have got a lot of aches and pains this time of year, and that can really help in those types of things.”

Pitcher Trevor Bauer added, “It’s been great. They came out and they supported us. The atmosphere last night and tonight was spectacular. I mean, shoot, even tonight after the loss, everyone was standing and stuff like that. It was a pretty cool moment.”