Lindor, Santana power Indians to 17th straight win
CLEVELAND — How does it feel to win 17 games in a row?
“It’s been fun and it’s been productive. But other than that, we move on pretty quickly,” said Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, whose team hasn’t lost a game since Aug. 23.
On Saturday at Progressive Field, Francisco Lindor homered and Carlos Santana belted two doubles, driving in one run and scoring another, as the Indians won their 17th game in a row, a 4-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
Cleveland’s winning streak is the second longest in the majors since 1954. The 2002 Oakland Athletics enjoyed a 20-game run.
In their 17 wins, the Indians have outscored their opponents 118-30.
“I think the streak does keep guys focused, because it’s there. We’re having fun with it,” Francona said.
Josh Tomlin (9-9) pitched five innings, giving up two runs on four hits with three strikeouts and no walks to get the win. Cody Allen pitched the ninth to earn his 25th save.
“When you’re on a roll like this, everything is kind of falling your way,” Tomlin said. “It makes it a lot of fun. It allows you to relax and just go out there and play and good things happen.”
Orioles starter Gabriel Ynoa (1-1), in his first start of the season, pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits. Baltimore has lost three in a row.
“It’s a combination of them pitching well and us not swinging the bats well,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said.
In losing the last game of their homestand to the Yankees 9-1, and the first two games of the series in Cleveland, the Orioles have been outscored 18-3.
“Three runs in three days, that’s tough,” Showalter said. “We’ve got to figure a way to do better than that.”
The Orioles took an early lead in the first inning.
With one out, Manny Machado reached on an infield single. Jonathan Schoop flied out for the second out, but Machado moved to third. Adam Jones singled, scoring Machado with the first run of the game.
It’s the first game in their winning streak in which the Indians did not score first.
Ynoa retired the first seven batters he faced before Yan Gomes singled with one out in the third inning, then scored on a double by Giovanny Urshela, tying the game at 1-1.
In the fourth inning, Santana led off with a double and scored on a single by Jay Bruce, giving the Indians a 2-1 lead.
Tomlin retired Chris Davis for the last out in the first inning, and that was the first batter in a streak in which the right-hander retired 13 batters in a row.
“That’s him. A lot of cutters, you have to honor any pitch in any count,” Showalter said.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Lonnie Chisenhall singled and scored on another double by Santana, giving Cleveland a 3-1 lead.
Baltimore halted Tomlin’s streak of retiring 13 in a row when Tim Beckham led off the top of the sixth inning with a home run into the left field bleachers, his 20th of the year. The blast cut the Cleveland lead to 3-2 and knocked Tomlin from the game.
“He was good,” Francona said. “He gave up three hits in the first inning, two of them infield hits, and then didn’t give up another hit until the home run. He doesn’t walk people. He sure knows how to pitch.”
The Indians added another run in the seventh inning off Orioles reliever Darren O’Day. With one out, Lindor belted a 2-2 pitch over the right field wall for his 28th home run of the year.
“We’ve got a good team. We understand that.” Tomlin said. “When everything starts clicking and going in the right direction, we’re able to put up numbers like we’re putting up right now. This is pretty special.”
Following Tomlin, five Indians relievers combined to hold the Orioles scoreless, retiring the last 10 men they faced to end the game.
“Their pitchers are filling up the lower part of the zone, away,” Showalter said. “When you can do that, the whole world opens up to you.”
NOTES: Indians 3B Giovanny Urshela made his first career start at second base, replacing 2B Jose Ramirez, who missed his third consecutive game with a sore right wrist. ... Indians DH Edwin Encarnacion’s infield single in the seventh inning allowed him to reach base for the 31nd consecutive game, the longest active streak in the majors. ... Orioles INF/OF Trey Mancini’s 23 home runs rank as the third most by a rookie in franchise history behind Cal Ripken Jr.’s 28 in 1982 and Eddie Murray’s 27 in 1977.