(Reuters) - The Cleveland Indians earned an American League record 21st consecutive win on Wednesday with a 5-3 victory over the visiting Detroit Tigers.
The victory moved Cleveland past the 2002 Oakland Athletics for the AL record and tied the 1935 Chicago Cubs, who play in the National League, for the second-longest winning streak in baseball history.
Only the 1916 New York Giants (26) had a longer run of success but their remarkable stretch, which is recognized by Major League Baseball as the longest in major league history, included a tie.
“It’s definitely fun to show up at the ballpark right now and I think the last thing anybody wants is an off-day,” Cody Allen said after earning his 27th save of the season.
“You never take anything for granted in this game, whether it’s a five-game win streak or if you go and do something crazy like this and win 21 straight.”
Cleveland have manhandled their opponents since their run began, a stretch during which every other AL team has lost at least eight games.
The Indians have outscored their opponents by a whopping 134-32 margin during the streak and enjoyed top-notch pitching the entire way as well as a potent offense that has shown no signs of slowing down.
“It starts with our (starting) rotation. There are a lot of talented arms in that group,” said Allen. “And offense. We score a lot of runs early and so with our rotation and scoring early it’s a recipe for success.”
Cleveland, who lost the decisive seventh game of last year’s World Series in extra innings, have a comfortable lead atop the AL Central division and are a betting favourite to win it all this year.
Jay Bruce, who was acquired by Cleveland a month ago, hit a three-run shot in the bottom half of the first inning in front of a raucous home crowd on Wednesday that put the Indians ahead 3-1 and set the early tone.
The Indians padded their lead in the third on a single by Edwin Encarnacion but Detroit pulled to within 4-3 in the sixth inning when a throwing error allowed a pair of runs to score.
Roberto Perez responded with a home run in the seventh to give the Indians a two-run cushion.
“Our guys are playing the right way to win,” Indians manager Terry Francona said in a post-game interview. “That’s the part that is meaningful.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Ralph Boulton