CLEVELAND -- Admittedly, it has been four or five years since Cleveland Indians outfielder Jay Bruce has had this much fun playing baseball.
After an early-August trade from the New York Mets to the Indians, Bruce has been on the hottest team in all of Major League Baseball, as they are 29-4 since he joined the organization, and in the midst of an American League-record 21-game winning streak.
“I pretty much went from one of the least fun situations in baseball to the most fun,” Bruce said after a 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field Wednesday. “That’s no slight to the Mets at all, but to have an opportunity to come to a team like this, it doesn’t happen very often, and I’m very, very fortunate to be in this situation.
“I just want to help. I just want to be a part of something that’s bigger than myself personally, and I think everyone in that locker room feels the same way, and I think these guys have welcomed me with open arms. It’s been easy. It’s been like I’ve been here all year.”
With the win over the Tigers, the Indians 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 1935 Chicago Cubs for the second-most prolific winning streak in Major League history.
“You can’t ask for any more in my opinion,” Bruce said. “I’m so fortunate to be a part of this, and just happy that I can help out when and where I can. I’ve said it a million times. This team was awesome before I got here. I feel I’ve added to what was already a super deep and talented lineup. We have so many ways to win games, it’s amazing.
“The talent’s there. I knew when I was coming over here, I was entering a situation that was a very, very positive one. The thing I’ve noticed the most -- on the field obviously speaks for itself -- but in the clubhouse, man, guys like each other, and I think that goes a long way. People argue about whether chemistry matters or not, but I think it’s a real thing and I think it matters. It’s been great to see and a lot of fun to be around.”
With one swing of the bat, Bruce turned a one-run deficit into a 3-1 lead for the Indians, as he belted a 1-1 pitch from Tigers starter Buck Farmer over the wall in left-center field for a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning.
With the confirmation of the home run after a two-minute crew chief review, Bruce matched a single-season career high with his 34th home run, his fifth since being acquired by the Indians.
The Indians never trailed again after Bruce’s home run.
“You come in, you’re ready to play,” Bruce said. “You want to come to the ballpark, and you’re coming into something that’s bigger than yourself. It’s not about every day, ‘You have to get this many hits or drive in this many runs.’ You just want to do whatever you can to help these guys win, and that’s the truth.”
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