CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians are American League Central Division champions for the second consecutive season.
Coupled with an 8-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field earlier in the day and the Toronto Blue Jays’ 7-2 win over the Minnesota Twins at Target Field Saturday night, the Indians earned their second straight division championship, a first for the team since the 1998 and 1999 seasons.
The Indians have won nine AL Central titles since the division was founded when Major League Baseball switched to the six-division format during the 1994 season. No other team in the division, which includes the Chicago White Sox, Twins, Detroit Tigers and Royals, have won more championships than the Indians.
Currently, at 92-57, the Indians hold the best record in the American League and second-best mark in all of baseball. The Indians lead the Astros (90-58) by 1.5 games in the race for the best record in the American League and home-field advantage through at least the first two rounds of the postseason.
Home-field advantage is something the Indians got plenty of experience with during their run to Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, as they held it in all three of their playoff series last fall, and that support extended over to this year when the team was on a recent historic run.
As the Indians went through their American League-record 22-game winning streak over the last three weeks, which ended with a 4-3 loss to the Royals Friday night, the fans flocked to Progressive Field in droves 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 after Friday’s loss.
“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.”
© 2017 WKYC-TV