Ron Schwane/Associated Press
One day after tying the American League record for consecutive wins, the Cleveland Indians earned their 21st straight victory with a 5-3 triumph over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday at Progressive Field.
The #Windians won’t stop!
That’s TWENTY-ONE in a row for the @Indians – an AL record! https://t.co/vq8pui7FtK
The 2002 Oakland Athletics previously held the longest winning streak by an AL team. Cleveland’s 21st straight win matches the 1880 Chicago White Stockings and 1935 Chicago Cubs for the second-longest in Major League Baseball history.
LeBron James congratulated the Indians on their accomplishment:
“The Cleveland WINdians™” — @KingJames sends his congrats to the @Indians for their historical win streak. https://t.co/wcX9HTO75L
The 1916 New York Giants own the MLB record with 26 straight wins, though Cleveland’s streak has brought up a question about that mark.
During the 13th game of the streak, per Baseball-Reference.com, the Giants’ contest against the Pittsburgh Pirates was ruled a tie due to darkness, and the game was never finished.
Steve Hirdt, executive vice president at the Elias Sports Bureau, explained to Tom Withers of the Associated Press why the Giants’ streak is still credited as being 26 straight wins instead of an unbeaten streak.
“It’s the longest winning streak, it’s the record for most consecutive wins, etc., because a tie game breaks neither a winning streak or losing streak for a team because it always gets replayed unless the season ends first,” Hirdt said.
Zack Meisel of The Athletic provided more stats from the historic streak:
Zack Meisel @ZackMeisel
Innings during Indians’ 21-game win streak: 189
Innings at the end of which Indians have trailed: 4
Tribe has outscored opposition 139-35
After the Tigers struck first with a run on Jeimer Candelario’s RBI double off starting pitcher Mike Clevinger in the top of the first inning, Cleveland responded in the bottom half of the frame on Jay Bruce’s three-run homer that just cleared the wall in left field.
We trailed in the first inning just to remember what it felt like.
Then @JayBruce87 did this. https://t.co/wS51Z4t0Wz
Bruce’s blast continued a trend the Indians have established throughout this streak, as noted by Sports Illustrated:
SI MLB @si_mlb
Jay Bruce’s HR gives CLE a 3–1 lead in the first. The Indians will still only have trailed for 4 complete innings during the win streak.
The Tigers did claw back to make it interesting, scoring two runs in the sixth inning due in part to Cleveland third baseman Yandy Diaz’s throwing error on a routine ground ball off the bat of Miguel Cabrera.
After the Indians tacked on a run in the bottom of the seventh thanks to Roberto Perez’s solo home run for a 5-3 lead, relievers Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen recorded the last six outs to preserve the win.
MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian had some fun with the streak by pointing out how different the world looked the last time the Indians lost:
Jordan Bastian @MLBastian
The last time Indians lost:
A stamp cost 49 cents.
Milk cost $2.25.
Donald Trump was President.
Kids who are 22 days old weren’t even born.
Cleveland’s last loss came Aug. 23 against the Boston Red Sox. That dropped the defending AL champion’s season record to 69-56, 7.5 games behind the Houston Astros for the best record in the league.
By winning their last 21 contests, the Indians have made up 9.5 games in the standings and hold a two-game lead over Houston for the top seed in the race for home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs.
The Indians will look to keep their historic winning streak going Thursday when they host the Kansas City Royals in a four-game series.