HISTORY! Tribe Sweeps Tigers for 21st Straight Victory; Indians 5, Tigers 3
Bob Toth | On 13, Sep 2017
With a 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday afternoon, the Cleveland Indians made history, exceeding the Oakland A’s American League record for consecutive wins in a season with 21 (set in 2002) while matching the Major League record of 21 (set by the Chicago Cubs in 1935).
The Indians (90-56) have cut their magic number down to four, with the Minnesota Twins scheduled to play San Diego at 8:10 PM ET from Target Field. One hundred wins are in sight for the club, as they need to go just 10-6 in their final 16 games to reach the century mark for the first time since 1995 and just the second time in club history (111 in 1954). The Indians finished the season with a 13-6 record against the Tigers, outscoring them 110-62.
The Indians found themselves in unfamiliar territory in the first as the Tigers claimed a lead. Like every deficit Cleveland has faced in their improbable run, it would not last.
Mike Clevinger struck out Ian Kinsler to start the ball game before Alex Presley singled to left. Miguel Cabrera fouled out to Jose Ramirez for the second out before Nicholas Castellanos drew a walk. With two on and two out, Jeimer Candelario doubled to left-center, driving in Presley to give the Tigers their first run of the series. Clevinger settled down with two still in scoring position, striking out James McCann swinging to end the inning.
The scoring would swing in the Indians’ favor in the home half of the first against Tigers starter Buck Farmer. Francisco Lindor led off another ball game with a big hit, doubling to right. Strikeouts by Lonnie Chisenhall and Edwin Encarnacion sandwiched a Ramirez walk. Jay Bruce stepped in with two outs and lifted a high fly ball the opposite way to left-center that just cleared the yellow line atop the 19-foot wall, giving him a big three-run blast and the Indians a 3-1 lead.
Clevinger struck out a pair in the second but had to work out of a jam in the third. Presley singled again with one out before a strikeout by Cabrera. Castellanos extended his hitting streak with a single to center to put two on for Candelario, but this time, he would not come through in the clutch as he was cut down looking at strike three, keeping the game at 3-1.
The Indians extended the lead in the bottom of the third with two big two-out hits. Ramirez doubled to right-center and came in to score on an RBI-single from Encarnacion to right. The Indians would load the bases on back-to-back walks from Bruce and Santana while McCann and manager Brad Ausmus would both get the heave-ho from home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott as they felt Farmer was being pinched at the plate. Yandy Diaz would fly out to leave them loaded, but Cleveland had a 4-1 lead.
Clevinger offered one of two walks on the afternoon in the fifth, missing on four straight to Jose Iglesias. He would be erased one pitch later as Kinsler grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
The young Indians right-hander got into trouble again in the sixth, as his defense cost him a pair of unearned runs. Cabrera reached and advanced to second base on a throwing error by Diaz at third. Castellanos made the error costly two pitches later with a double to left-center, cutting the Indians lead to 4-2. A pair of groundouts left Castellanos at third, but Andrew Romine delivered another big two-out hit for the Tigers with a single to right, making it a 4-3 contest before Nick Goody came on in relief for manager Terry Francona and struck out JaCoby Jones swinging.
Daniel Norris had relieved for Farmer in the bottom of the fifth and retired seven straight batters until Roberto Perez gave the Indians a big insurance run in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Perez clouted a shot to deep center, extending the lead to 5-3.
Bryan Shaw made the white-knuckler extra scary in the eighth, but worked his way out of it with some fantastic defensive work at third from Giovanny Urshela, who had entered defensively the previous inning. Cabrera singled to right before Shaw struck out Castellanos. Candelario grounded back to Shaw, but he could not handle the play as both men were safe on error. The defense improved drastically from there, as John Hicks grounded into the hole at third, where Urshela ranged to his left with a sliding stop and fired to Ramirez at second for the force for the second out. With runners still standing on the corners, Romine hit a chopper at Urshela, who charged in, fielded, and threw to first to nab the Tigers hitter to end a big threat.
The Indians nearly tacked on another run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Santana sent a shot to deep center that bounced off of the wall and past the center fielder Jones back towards right. Santana was waved around for the inside-the-park attempt, but good relay throws caught him at the plate by plenty.
Cody Allen entered for the ninth in pursuit of his 27th save and to secure the Indians’ place in history. He struck out Tyler Collins, got Iglesias to fly to left, and got Kinsler to hit the first pitch to left, where Chisenhall made a sliding catch to etch this Indians team into the record books.
Clevinger (10-5) became the fourth Indians pitcher to record ten wins or more this season (Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber, and Carlos Carrasco) with his victory. He worked five and two-thirds innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits. He walked two on the afternoon and struck out six. He worked ahead for much of the day, missing on just six first pitch strikes in his outing.
Farmer (4-3) took his second loss of the month to the Tribe after throwing 98 pitches in four innings of work. He allowed four runs on four hits, walked three, and struck out seven.
Bruce’s big shot in the first gave Clevinger room to maneuver in the early innings. The blast was his fifth with the Indians and his 34th of the season.
Indians attendance enjoyed a nice last minute surge in ticket sales over the past two games as the club sold 5,430 and 4,523 tickets to the last two contests on the day of each game.
Josh Tomlin (9-9, 5.13 ERA) will look to become the fifth Tribe pitcher with ten wins on the year while looking to give the Indians the Major League record for consecutive wins in a season as Cleveland hosts the Kansas City Royals for a four-game series beginning Thursday night. Jakob Junis (7-2, 4.34), a 24-year-old right-hander, will make his 13th start of the season and 17th appearance overall for the Royals. He faced the Indians on August 18, allowing four runs on five hits in two and one-third innings in a relief effort.
First pitch from a potentially historic night at Progressive Field is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images