The Cleveland Indians made history Tuesday night, equaling an American League record with their 20th consecutive victory that put them shoulder to shoulder with the Moneyball Oakland Athletics.
Ace Corey Kluber carried the Indians into the record books, pitching a five-hitter and dominating the visiting Detroit Tigers in a 2-0 victory.
The Indians have not lost since Aug. 23, riding, seemingly, a different hero every night to equal the 2002 A’s with 20 consecutive wins. That Oakland team was immortalized in the best-selling book and acclaimed film Moneyball.
This Cleveland team likely won’t get such fanfare, though it may end up with a World Series title for its troubles.
Up next, however: A Wednesday afternoon date with the Tigers at Progressive Field, where right-hander Mike Clevinger will aim to pitch the Indians past the A’s, and into a tie with the 1935 Chicago Cubs with 21 consecutive wins.
That stands as the modern standard for consecutive wins, as the 1916 New York Giants won 26 in a row, albeit with a tie wedged into their streak after a dozen victories.
The Indians -- now 89-56, and with a magic number of five to clinch the AL Central -- needed no such acts of nature to push their streak toward mid-September. Particularly when Kluber is pitching.
The 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner won his fourth game in as many starts during the streak, striking out eight to push his season total to 243. He improved to 16-4 on the season, lowering his ERA to 2.44.
And he’s been all the better during this 20-game rampage: A 1.41 ERA, and 35 strikeouts in 32 innings to lead an Indians rotation that's won 18 of the 20 games.
He got the only run he needed when Francisco Lindor hit a leadoff homer off Detroit lefty Matt Boyd in the first, Lindor’s career-best 30th home run. Carlos Santana scored another run on a wild pitch, further stoking the anticipation among the Progressive Field crowd of 24,654.
They rose to their feet in the ninth inning as Kluber came out to finish it, clutching phones to record the moment. He did not disappoint, yielding a hit but getting Miguel Cabrera on a grounder to third to end it.
And keep alive the Indians' march through the record books.
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