Indians edge Orioles for 18th straight win
CLEVELAND -- Another day, another victory for the streaking Cleveland Indians, who haven’t lost a game since Aug. 23.
Roberto Perez and Francisco Lindor hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning, and Trevor Bauer made a quality start as the Indians extended their franchise-record winning streak to 18 games with a 3-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday night at Progressive Field.
The Indians tied the 1953 New York Yankees for the fifth-longest winning streak in major league history.
Even the Orioles are impressed.
“Eighteen in a row is hard to fathom,” Baltimore pitcher Jeremy Hellickson said. “There are so many good starting pitchers and good teams in the league, it’s hard to think you could win 18 in a row. But when you’ve got that rotation, that bullpen and that offense, it’s a pretty complete team. So I can see how they’ve done it.”
Bauer (16-8) tossed 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and seven hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. The fourth Indians reliever, Cody Allen, pitched the ninth inning to pick up his 26th save.
“We’re playing the type of baseball we know we can play,” Bauer said. “We know we have the talent to do things like this. No one is playing above the level of what they can do.”
Indians manager Terry Francona said his team has tried to keep an even temperament during the streak.
“You think you’re going to win until you don‘t,” Francona said. “I think the streak gets to other people more than it does to us. We try to learn from each game and move on as quickly as we can.”
Hellickson took the loss, pitching six innings and giving up three runs and four hits with one strikeout and no walks. He fell to 8-9 overall on the season, 2-4 with Baltimore.
“He pitched well. He gave us a chance to win,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “They just pitched a little better than us the whole series.”
Trailing 1-0, the Orioles tied the score with a run in the sixth inning. With one out, Manny Machado doubled to right field, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Jonathan Schoop.
Hellickson retired 15 men in a row from the first through the fifth innings, but that streak ended in a 33-pitch sixth inning. Perez, leading off the inning, hit a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall to give Cleveland a 2-1 lead.
Lindor, the next hitter, also worked the count to 3-2, then hit Hellickson’s next pitch over the wall in right field, a drive estimated at 433 feet. It was Lindor’s 29th home run of the season.
“I out-thought myself,” Hellickson said. “I didn’t think they would be ready for fastballs, so that’s what I threw to both of them. I left two fastballs up, but other than that, I felt in control.”
The Orioles got a run back in the seventh on a home run by Chris Davis, who hit Bauer’s 110th and final pitch of the game over the left field wall for his 24th home run, making it 3-2.
However, Joe Smith, Tyler Olson, Nick Goody and Allen combined to retire the next eight batters in a row to end the game.
“We weren’t doing much, but Roberto got (a fastball) up, Frankie hit one really good, and we hung on for dear life,” Francona said.
Showalter said, “Give a lot of credit to their pitching. That’s why they lead the league in pitching.”
Cleveland opened the scoring in the bottom of the first. Lindor led off with a double into the left field corner. Lonnie Chisenhall flared a single into shallow left field, moving Lindor to third.
Jose Ramirez, back in the lineup after missing three games with a sore wrist, grounded out to second, but Lindor scored, giving the Indians a 1-0 lead.
NOTES: Indians CF Bradley Zimmer left the game in the seventh inning after fracturing the fourth metacarpal of his left hand when he dived for first base trying to beat a throw. Zimmer will be examined by a hand specialist on Monday. ... Cleveland LHP Andrew Miller, on the disabled due to right knee tendinitis, will pitch a simulated game Monday. ... Indians RHP Carlos Carrasco will start Monday night vs. the Detroit Tigers. In his last start, a 5-1 win over the White Sox on Sept. 6, Carrasco tossed a 97-pitch, three-hit complete game. ... Baltimore 1B Chris Davis was 3-for-31 (.097) with 13 strikeouts before his home run in the seventh inning. ... The Orioles begin a three-game series at Toronto on Monday. ... Orioles LHP Jayson Aquino, who was designated for assignment on Tuesday, cleared waivers and was assigned outright to Triple-A Norfolk.