Wednesday’s game between the Tigers and Indians at Progressive Field was not your average September weekday afternoon game. It ended up having historic significance, as the Indians beat the Tigers 5-3. This was the Indians’ 21st straight victory, which means they now have the longest winning streak in the history of the American League.
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but the Indians responded quickly in the bottom frame. Newly acquired slugging right fielder Jay Bruce hit a three-run home run, putting the Indians ahead 3-1. They did not relinquish the lead after this.
Going into the ninth inning, the Indians had a 5-3 lead. Closer Cody Allen came in to finish the job. With two outs and nobody on base, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler hit a line drive to left field that was caught by a sliding Lonnie Chisenhall. This final out sealed the victory for the Indians and put them into the American League history books.
With the win, the Indians officially passed the 2002 Oakland Athletics for the longest winning streak in AL history. That Oakland team won 20 straight games. Their streak ended with a 6-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins on September 6, 2002.
As far as the longest winning streak in MLB history goes, the Indians are now tied with two teams for second place on that list. The 1880 Chicago White Stockings and 1935 Chicago Cubs both won 21 straight games. The longest winning streak in MLB history belongs to the 1916 New York Giants. That team technically won 26 consecutive games. In the middle of their streak, they actually tied a game. However, the game was replayed and the Giants won. The tie was never recorded.
One of the reasons that the Indians have been so hot lately is their pitching staff. As reported by ESPN Stats & Info, Cleveland has a team ERA of 1.57 during their 21-game winning streak.
During 21-game win streak, CLE has 1.57 ERA, the 4th-best mark by a team in any 21-game span in a season in the Div Era (via @EliasSports )
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 14, 2017
Perhaps the most remarkable stat about the Indians historic winning streak is that they have outscored their opponents 139-35 over the 21-game span. A tweet posted earlier by MLB Stat of the Day really sums up all of the unbelievable numbers surrounding Cleveland’s amazing run.
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) September 13, 2017
The Indians have really been able to accomplish something incredible over the past three weeks. If they win five more games in a row, they will be tied with the 1916 Giants for the longest winning streak in MLB history. Should they break that record, the 2017 Indians will be regarded as one of the greatest regular season teams in the history of baseball.