The Cleveland Indians have made history. With their 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday, the Indians tied the “modern” record with their 21st straight win.
Win No. 21 didn’t come easy for Cleveland. Things were in jeopardy almost immediately, as Detroit scratched across a run in the top of the first inning to take an early lead.
That didn’t last long. Jay Bruce smashed a three-run homer in the bottom of the inning to put Cleveland up. The team would add an insurance run in the third inning to go up 4-1.
The Tigers weren’t going to let Cleveland achieve the milestone win easily. Detroit rallied back in the sixth inning, plating two runs to close the gap. Reliever Nick Goody was called upon to get out of the jam, and struck out JaCoby Jones to ensure Cleveland held the lead.
With the game still tight, Goody and Tyler Olson combined for a scoreless seventh. They were provided with some breathing room in the bottom of the inning, as Roberto Perez hit a solo home run to give Cleveland the 5-3 lead.
The team held on in the eighth and ninth innings, winning the game 5-3.
Cleveland now stands at the top of the American League, passing the 2002 Oakland Athletics, who previously owned the record with 20 straight wins. The victory also ties the club with the 1935 Chicago Cubs, who reeled off 21 straight wins for the “modern” record.
There’s a reason the word “modern” is being used in this instance. There’s actually some debate over whether 21 or 26 is the real consecutive wins record.
The New York Giants won 26 straight games in 1916, but one of the games in the middle of the streak included a tie. Ties were completely thrown out at that time, so there’s no record of the game, but some consider that an instance where the team’s win streak was broken.
It’s a complicated issue, which is likely why Major League Baseball marketed Wednesday’s game as the “modern” record. They can celebrate Cleveland’s accomplishments while also recognizing what the Giants did. It’s a half measure, but it avoids controversy.
Cleveland can render all of that moot if it can keep this up. With another win, the team would stand alone as the “modern” record-holders. With five more wins, they can tie the Giants for the all-time record. And, obviously, with six more wins, they can stand over every team at the top of the pedestal.
The team’s 21 straight victories is incredibly impressive, and should be celebrated. Consider the following:
Indians beat Detroit 5-3 to set AL record w/ 21 wins in a row. Browns have 21 wins since Nov. 20, 2011.
— Patrick (PJ) Reusse (@1500ESPN_Reusse) September 13, 2017
But it’s not the ultimate goal. After taking the Chicago Cubs to the brink of elimination in Game 7 of the World Series last year, Cleveland is looking to finally complete the task this season. Doing so would erase the longest World Series drought in baseball.
Their streak has put them in strong position to make that happen, as some oddsmakers consider them the co-favorite to win the World Series.
Going on a streak like this has no bearing on the postseason, but it does prove that Cleveland is both talented and deep. The team nearly won the whole thing last year with a fair amount of their guys hurt. Finally firing on all cylinders, Cleveland looks like it won’t be denied this time around.
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