By Tom Withers
CLEVELAND (AP) — Unrelenting and unbeatable at the moment, the Cleveland Indians refuse to lose.
With their latest overpowering win, they extended baseball’s longest winning streak since 2002 to 19 games with an 11-0 blowout of the Detroit Tigers on Monday night to move closer to a record that has stood for 101 years.
Francisco Lindor tripled home three runs off rookie Myles Jaye (0-1) in the second inning, and the Indians, who haven’t lost since Aug. 23, added another blowout to their growing list of lopsided conquests.
The defending AL champions aren’t just rolling, they’re steamrolling opponents, outscoring them 132-32 during a stretch that includes six shutouts.
Carlos Carrasco (15-6) struck out nine in six innings, Lindor had four RBIs and Jose Ramirez hit a two-run homer as the Indians lowered their magic number to clinch the Central to six.
Cleveland is the sixth team in history to win at least 19 straight, and the streak is the longest since the 2002 Oakland Athletics won 20 in a row — a run that was celebrated in the film “Moneyball.”
The Indians can match those A’s on Tuesday, and their chances of getting No. 20 are strong with AL Cy Young Award contender Corey Kluber starting.
At this point, it hardly matters who’s on the mound.
Cleveland joined the 1906 Chicago White Sox (19), the 1947 New York Yankees (19), the 2002 A’s (20), the 1935 Chicago Cubs (21) and the 1916 New York Giants (26) as the only teams to reel off 19 consecutive wins. The Giants’ record run is in the books as the major league mark, although it did include a tie, which does not count as an official game in baseball, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Even tying these Indians during a game has been nearly impossible.
Cleveland has trailed in only four of 171 innings, scored first in 18 of 19 games and has hit 38 homers. In a season where other teams have displayed dominance, the Indians stand alone.
“No knock on the Dodgers or the Astros, they’re obviously both very good teams,” said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. “I think this is the most balanced team and probably the biggest threat to anybody in baseball to win a World Series because they do kind of cover every facet of the game.”
Cleveland’s streak has happened despite the team missing three of its best players: All-Star reliever Andrew Miller, All-Star left fielder Michael Brantley and second baseman Jason Kipnis. They’re all on the disabled list.
“It’s just the next guy up,” Kipnis said. “It doesn’t matter who it is or what goes down. We like the depth that we have. We have the players that go out and compete each night and you’re going to win a lot of games when guys play with that attitude.”
Miller threw 30 pitches in a simulated game, a major step in his recovery from knee tendinitis. The team will see how Miller responds Tuesday before deciding the next move. Kipnis faced Miller during the workout and doubled off the left-hander.
“After I fouled one off, I said, ‘I’ve already had a better at-bat than I have ever versus him in a game,'” Kipnis said. “He smiled at that one.”
Tigers: RHP Jordan Zimmerman received an injection last week for the neck injury that’s bothered him since last season. He will begin a throwing program in the next few days, and Ausmus said Zimmerman will make a few more starts if there are no setbacks. Zimmerman is 8-12 with a 6.18 ERA in 27 starts. … OF Mikie Mahtook (sore left groin) was out of the lineup for the third straight day.
Indians: Rookie CF Bradley Zimmer will undergo surgery on his broken left hand on Tuesday in New York. Zimmer got stepped on while diving into first base on Sunday. The Indians do not have a timetable on his return, but it’s safe to assume his season is over.
Kluber is 7-1 with a 1.92 ERA in his last eight starts. The right-hander, who leads the AL in ERA (2.56) and opponent batting average (.192), will face Detroit’s Matt Boyd.
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