September 14, 2017 – Lindor Keeps the Streak Alive with 2-out Single Off the Wall
The Indians entered this Thursday night game riding a twenty-one game winning streak. Sports talk radio was abuzz with debate about whether a win would place the Tribe in sole possession of the longest winning streak. Either they would pass up the 21 win streak of the 1935 Cubs. Or they would still be chasing the 1916 Giants, who went 26 games without losing. The Giant’s streak included a tie.
Josh Tomlin was matched up with Jacob Junis for this run at history. The Tribe got behind early as the Royals got to Tomin in the top of the second inning. He walked Eric Hosmer to lead off the inning, and then Salvador Perez lined a single into right field that advanced Hosmer to third. Mike Moustakis grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, but Hosmer came home to score.
Abe Almonte lead off the Indians’ half of the third with a line drive double down the right field line. With two outs, Lonnie Chisenhall looped a double into right. Almonte dug for home and came around to score. Chisenhall attempted to stretch the play into a double, but was thrown out at second to end the inning.
In the top of the sixth, Tomlin gave up a double to Whit Merrifield. Lorenzo Cain hit into a fielders choice that put Merrifield out at third. Melky Cabrera grounded one weakly down the first base line. Carlos Santana charged the ball and flipped it to second to get Cain at second. Eric Hosmer slapped a double down the left field line that scored Melky from first.
Andrew Miller returned from the injured list to pitch the top of the seventh. He allowed two hits, but got Alex Gordon to hit into an inning-ending double play to get out of trouble. One of the more incredible facts about the streak is that the Tribe won 21 games straight without their best relief pitcher.
The Indians offense could not get anything going against Royals reliever Mike Minor in the seventh. They loaded the bases against Ryan Butcher in the bottom of the eighth, but consecutive pop-foul outs by Jay Bruce and Carlos Santana ended the threat.
Kelvin Herrera got Yandy Diaz to ground out to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Tyler Naquin slapped a single through the left side of the infield. Francisco Mejia grounded to second and Naquin was forced out. Erik Gonzalez came on to pinch run for Mejia. The Indians were down to their final out, and Francisco Lindor was hitless on the day so far. Lindor came to the plate looking to keep the Indians’ hopes–and the streak–alive.
Lindor worked Herrera into a 2-2 count. Down to his final strike, Lindor laced one into deep left field. Alex Gordon raced to the base of the 19-foot wall and made a leaping attempt, but was unable to make the catch. Gonzalez raced around to score the tying run, and Lindor ended up on second. Austin Jackson grounded out to end the inning and send the game to extras tied at 2-2.
Cody Allen needed only eighteen pitches to retire the Royals in the top of the tenth. Over the course of the streak Cody Allen did not allow a single run. His ERA was perfect from August 12th through this game.
Jose Ramirez lined Brandon Maurer’s 1-1 pitch into right-center and never hesitated in pushing for second. He narrowly beat the throw and was safe with a double to get things started in the bottom of the tenth. Maurer had Edwin Encarnacion behind in the count 0-2, but EE hung in and drew a seven-pitch walk.
Jay Bruce stepped to the plate and laced one into the right field corner. Ramirez raced around from second to score the winning run and give the 2017 Indians a place in history.
During the streak, the Tribe outscored their opponents by a combined score of 140–36 in an unprecedented run of dominance.