CLEVELAND -- One of the more remarkable aspects of the Indians' winning streak has been the level of dominance. That continued on Monday night, and now Cleveland is on the cusp of equaling one of the most famous streaks in baseball history.
With an 11-0 rout of the Tigers at Progressive Field, the Indians extended their franchise-record run to 19 consecutive victories. Carlos Carrasco kept the Tribe's stellar starting pitching going, while Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez once again powered a lineup that is firing on all cylinders.
"We're riding on some kind of high right now," Indians catcher Yan Gomes said. "It's amazing."
The Indians are now one win shy of reaching 20, which would tie the 2002 A's of "Moneyball" fame for the longest streak in the Expansion Era (since 1961). Cleveland just so happens to have ace Corey Kluber on-deck to pitch, too. The most wins in consecutive games in a season is 21 by the 1935 Cubs.
The Elias Sports Bureau credits the 1916 New York Giants with a 26-game winning streak, but that stretch included a tie within a 27-game span.
Carrasco (15-6) did his part with six shutout innings, in which he struck out nine and walked one. In four starts within Cleveland's 19-game run, the big right-hander has fashioned a 0.62 ERA with 34 strikeouts and one walk in 29 innings. As a staff, the Indians' rotation now boasts a 1.84 ERA in 117 1/3 innings during the streak.
The shutout was the Indians' sixth in the streak and their Major League-leading 18th of the season. That is the most shutouts in a season for Cleveland since it posted 23 in 1968. During the current 19-game winning streak, the dominance on both ends of the spectrum has resulted in a plus-100 run differential for the Tribe.
Indians manager Terry Francona has continued to avoid specifically addressing the winning streak.
"I just don't feel like going there. I think it sends the wrong message," Francona said. "I think our message is always consistent, that, 'Hey, show up and try to outplay them today.' They're doing a really good job of that. I think to be a good team, sometimes spreading out games is important and the guys have done a really good job of that."
Lindor and Ramirez have been catalysts for the lineup throughout this historic run, and they kept that going against Detroit. Lindor jump-started the scoring with a three-run triple in the second inning and ended the evening with four RBIs. Ramirez crushed a two-run homer (his 26th of the year and eighth during the streak) and contributed a sacrifice fly.
In his first Major League start, Tigers right-hander Myles Jaye took the loss after he allowed seven runs on seven hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings. Alex Presley and Jeimer Candelario had two hits apiece; Candelario is now 13-for-34 since joining the Tigers last month, more than twice as many hits as he had in parts of two seasons as a Cub (six hits).
"You're talking about a kid that started [the season] in Double-A, and you're asking him to go up against the American League champions, a team that's clicking," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said of Jaye. "So it was kind of a tall task."
With the win, the Indians now hold a 13 1/2-game lead over the Twins in the American League Central, and have dropped their magic number to six. In addition, the Tribe now has a 1 1/2-game lead over the Astros for the best record in the AL, and trails the Dodgers by 4 1/2 games for the best record in the Majors, pending the result of Los Angeles' game against the Giants on Monday.
Asked about Oakland's famous streak 15 years ago, Gomes laughed.
"Man, I had just moved here from Brazil," Gomes said. "I don't remember that. It's cool, though. I can't even imagine."
One more win, and imagination can become reality for the Indians.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Lindor stays hot: Lindor began to break things open for the Tribe in the second, when he followed a bunt single by Greg Allen with a three-run triple into the right-center-field gap. It was only one night earlier that a Lindor home run helped power Cleveland's 18th straight win. Over the course of the winning streak, the Indians' energetic shortstop has posted a .365/.434/.770 slash line with 12 extra-base hits and 18 RBIs.
"That's what we live for, to help the team win," Lindor said. "The guys that are behind me -- seven, eight, nine -- are getting on base. They're doing their job and I get to come to the plate with people on base with one out or no out. It makes it fun."
Catching on: The Indians scored first, as they have in 18 of the 19 games during this incredible run. The first breakthrough on Monday night came from Gomes, who ripped a run-scoring single to center to give the Tribe a 1-0 lead in the second. For the season, the Indians have produced the most RBIs (93) from their designated hitters, but Cleveland's catchers rank second on the team with 84 RBIs combined.
"Man, I could be out there, but that's like Omar Vizquel and Roberto Alomar right there. I think people are going to talk about it later on. That double-play duo. Two guys like that, young guys coming up together. You can tell, man. They just feed off each other." -- Gomes, on Lindor and Ramirez
"If I could time that, I should be in the NFL." -- Ian Kinsler, asked if there were any ill feelings from Carlos Santana after his errant throw to first base hit Santana in the neck
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Indians' 12-0 start to September is the team's best record to begin any calendar month in franchise history. It is the best start to any month in the Majors since the Twins went 15-0 to begin June in 1991.
RAMIREZ EXITS EARLY
In the sixth inning, Ramirez tried to move out of the way of an inside pitch from reliever Warwick Saupold by letting go of his bat and pulling in his hands. The ball struck the handle of Ramirez's bat and then hit him in the left forearm. After Ramirez was quickly examined, Cleveland took no chances and removed him from the lopsided game. The Indians announced that Ramirez sustained a bruised forearm and was lifted for precautionary reasons. Ramirez was initially given a hit-by-pitch, but the Tigers challenged the call, which was overturned to a foul ball after a replay review. Instead of being a pinch-runner, Erik Gonzalez was asked to pinch-hit, and he subsequently flew out to center.
"Saup was just going inside," Ausmus said. "He's not doing anything. It was a foul ball. Certainly they're in contention, they don't want to get anyone hurt. We don't want to be the ones that cause it." More >
WHAT'S NEXT Tigers:Matthew Boyd (5-9, 5.93 ERA) will get the ball for the Tigers' next chance to end the Indians' winning streak as the series continues with a 7:10 p.m. ET game Tuesday. He's 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA in four career outings against Cleveland, including six innings of one-run ball to beat the Tribe on April 16 at Progressive Field.
Indians: The Indians will send Kluber (15-4, 2.56 ERA) to the hill for Tuesday's 7:10 p.m. ET matchup with the Tigers at Progressive Field. In 13 starts in his home ballpark this season, the right-hander is 8-2 with a 2.11 ERA, which is the lowest home ERA in the AL.