CLEVELAND – On a winning streak that just won’t stop, the Cleveland Indians have posted shutouts, blowouts and routine wins.
All that was missing were a walk-off victory and extra innings.
“Check those two off,” closer Cody Allen said. “We’re checking all the boxes.”
And check this out: 22 in a row.
Jay Bruce hit an RBI double in the 10th inning — after Francisco Lindor tied it with a clutch double in the ninth — as the Indians rallied for their 22nd straight win to extend their American League record, beating the Kansas City Royals 3-2 on Thursday.
Cleveland moved within four wins of matching the 1916 New York Giants for the longest streak in major league history.
A three-week romp through the league finally had some real drama to keep baseball’s longest winning streak in 101 years intact.
Even before the rally, Allen looked at his teammates in the bullpen and knew something special was about to happen.
“In the ninth, we were saying, ‘We’re gonna walk them off,’ ” said Allen (3-6). “We thought we were going to walk them off right there. You win enough games in a lot of different ways, you see what those guys are capable of.”
Allen and the Indians only had to wait a little longer until Jose Ramirez scored the winning run.
With the crowd signing “Jose, Jose, Jose,” Ramirez led off the 10th with a hard hit into right-center off Brandon Maurer (2-2) that he turned into a double with a head-first slide. After Edwin Encarnacion walked, Bruce, the recent arrival who hit a three-run homer in win No. 21 on Wednesday, ripped a 2-0 pitch into the right-field corner.
As Progressive Field shook like it usually does in October, Bruce reached second base and was quickly mobbed by his teammates, who doused him with ice water and talcum powder while tearing the front of his jersey.
“Kids these days are throwing everything,” Bruce said with a laugh. “You never know what you’re going to get hit with out there. It’s my first jersey rip off, for sure. They didn’t get it all, though.”
These Indians aren’t stopping for anything.
Down to its last strike in the ninth, Cleveland rallied to tie it 2-2 off closer Kelvin Herrera, with Lindor delivering his shot off the left-field wall, just above the leap of four-time Gold Glove winner Alex Gordon, to score pinch runner Erik Gonzalez from first.
The Indians entered the day tied with the 1935 Chicago Cubs for the second-longest streak, and now only trail those ’16 Giants, who won 26 in a row — all at home.
The Giants won 12 straight, played a 1-1 tie, and then won 14 in a row. But because the tied game was replayed from the start the next day, it didn’t technically count and therefore didn’t stop New York’s streak.
Unlike many of Cleveland’s game’s over the past three weeks, this one required a little late-innings work by the Indians, who have outscored their opponents 142-37 during this unimaginable run that has put them on the cusp of another Central title and possibly finish with the league’s best record.
White Sox 17, Tigers 7
In Detroit, Avisail Garcia went 5-for-5 and drove in a career-high seven runs, Yoan Moncada scored five times and Chicago pounded out 25 hits while routing Detroit.
The White Sox posted their highest hit total since getting 26 against Baltimore in 1981. The modern major league record for hits in a nine-inning game is 31, by Milwaukee in 1992 and the New York Giants in 1901.
Astros 5, Angels 2
In Anaheim, Brad Peacock pitched six innings of three-hit ball and Houston lowered its magic number for clinching the AL West to three with a victory over second-place Los Angeles.
The Angels’ Albert Pujols hit his 613th career homer in the ninth inning, breaking his tie with Jim Thome for seventh place in baseball history.
Yankees 13, Orioles 5
In New York, Aaron Judge had a pair of three-run homers for a career-best six RBIs, Todd Frazier hit a three-run homer that chased Wade Miley with one out in a six-run first inning and the hosts routed fading Baltimore.
Masahiro Tanaka (12-11) won for the fourth time in five starts, allowing two solo homers in seven innings while striking out eight.
It was the right-hander’s 150th combined victory in the bigs and NPB.
“I’m getting more strikeouts because I’m getting better. Heading in the right direction, seeing a good sign, that’s for sure,” Tanaka said.
Pitching in his 278th game, Tanaka, who earned 99 wins during his seven-year career with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles through the 2013 season, became the fastest Japanese major leaguer to collect 150 wins.
Daisuke Matsuzaka held the previous record, having reached the 150-win mark in his 285th game.
“No matter the gap in score, my job is always the same so I was able to focus,” Tanaka said.
Cubs 14, Mets 6
In Chicago, Anthony Rizzo homered and had three hits, Jason Heyward went deep and drove in four and the Cubs beat New York.
Chicago’s offense helped overcome a shaky debut by pitcher Jen-Ho Tseng to complete a three-game sweep.
The Mets’ Norichika Aoki was hitless in three-bats.
Twins 3, Blue Jays 2 (10)
In Minneapolis, Byron Buxton’s 10th-inning homer gave the Twins their second straight walk-off victory.
Mariners 10, Rangers 4
In Arlington, Texas, Nelson Cruz went 4-for-4 with a home run and Kyle Seager hit a two-run homer as Seattle trounced the hosts.
The Mariners remained 3½ games behind Minnesota for the second AL wild card.
Nationals 5, Braves 2
In Washington, rookie Victor Robles was a part of a pair of two-run rallies, Tanner Roark pitched six strong innings and the Nationals downed Atlanta.
Phillies 10, Marlins 0
In Philadelphia, Rhys Hoskins homered again, Freddy Galvis and Jorge Alfaro also went deep in a seven-run second inning, and the Phillies routed slumping Miami.
Hoskins’ two-run shot gave him 18 home runs in 34 games since his call-up from Triple-A on Aug. 10. The Yankees’ Gary Sanchez previously held the record for fastest to 18 homers. Sanchez needed 45 games.
The Marlins’ Ichiro Suzuki went 2-for-3 with a walk. Teammate Junichi Tazawa pitched one scoreless inning.
Red Sox 6, Athletics 2
In Boston, Drew Pomeranz pitched six innings of one-run ball, and Andrew Benintendi had three hits and drove in three runs to send AL East-leading Red Sox past Oakland.
Diamondbacks 7, Rockies 0
In Phoenix, A.J. Pollock had four RBIs for the second straight day, J.D. Martinez homered for the 10th time in 11 games and Arizona extended its NL wild-card lead by beating Colorado.
Cardinals 5, Reds 2
In St. Louis, rookie Luke Weaver threw six innings of two-hit ball, Tommy Pham drove in two runs and stole two bases, and the Redbirds topped Cincinnati.
The Cardinals have won five of six. St. Louis is 2½ games behind Colorado for the second NL wild-card spot.