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 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.
With one swing of the bat, outfielder Jay 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.
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.
A hustle play with two outs from Ramirez led to a run in the bottom of the third inning.
On a 3-1 pitch from 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, Encarnacion looped an RBI single to right field, which gave the Indians a 4-1 lead over the Tigers.
The Indians ended the inning with the bases loaded as infielder Yandy Diaz lined out to left for the final out.
The Tigers cut the Indians’ lead down to 4-3 with two runs in the top of the sixth inning off of starter Mike Clevinger.
Hitting a home run with an 0-2 count is not something Indians catcher Roberto Perez had done before in his Major League career, but that changed in the bottom of the seventh inning.
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.
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