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Indians clinch playoff berth with 22nd straight win

By Ryan Lewis • Sep 14, 2017 at 11:45 PM

(UPDATED) With their 22nd straight win Thursday, followed by the Angels’ loss to Houston, the Cleveland Indians have clinched a spot in the postseason for the second consecutive season.

The race for the AL Central crown continues this weekend against the Royals. The Tribe’s magic number to win the division title is down to 3.

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CLEVELAND — Somehow, the streak is still alive.

Somehow, the Indians came back in thrilling fashion Thursday to win their 22nd game in a row.

Somehow, it seems as though the Indians can never again be counted out.

Trailing by one run for most of the night, and down to their final strike, the Indians rallied in the ninth to tie it and then won it in the 10th, pulling off their first walk-off win during the streak to take down the Kansas City Royals, 3-2, before a raucous, playoff-like crowd at Progressive Field.

With the streak three outs from dying, the Royals turned to closer Kelvin Herrera in the ninth. And the Indians found their magic at the last possible second.

On a 2-2 pitch, Francisco Lindor came through, doubling off the wall in left field to score Erik Gonzalez, in the game as a pinch-runner, from first to tie it 2-2 and send Progressive Field into bedlam.

The Indians finished one of the most memorable games in park history in the 10th. Facing Brandon Maurer, Jose Ramirez led off the inning by ripping a ball into center field and stretching it into a double with a terrific slide to just beat the throw into second base. It was his 50th double of the season. Edwin Encarnacion then walked to put two on with no outs.

That led to Jay Bruce, who ripped a double to right field to win it, securing the Indians' 22nd consecutive win and by far the wildest game in the streak.

The winning streak now stands alone as the second-longest of all time, behind only the 1916 New York Giants' streak of 26, which includes a tie in the middle.

The Indians entered the game having trailed at the completion of only four innings in 21 games. They trailed by that many on Thursday night alone, until the improbable comeback in the ninth and 10th innings.

For the second consecutive game and only the third time in the last 22, the Indians did not score first. Facing starting pitcher Josh Tomlin, Eric Hosmer walked and Salvador Perez singled to put runners on the corners in the second inning. Mike Moustakas followed by grounding into a double play, but it was enough to score the run.

In Wednesday's win, the Indians trailed for roughly 18 minutes. On Thursday, it took approximately 24 minutes for that lead to be erased. With Abraham Almonte on second after a double, Lonnie Chisenhall singled to right, tying it 1-1.

The Royals struck back in the sixth. With one on and two out, Hosmer blooped a ball down the left-field line. Almonte slid for it but couldn't make the catch, and the Royals retook a one-run lead.

Thursday night marked the return of Andrew Miller, who pitched the seventh inning and jogged to the mound to a loud ovation from the home crowd. Miller allowed two singles and struck out Brandon Moss looking before inducing an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.

Chisenhall was taken out of the game prior to the top of the fifth inning with tightness in his right calf. It was announced by the club that his exit was for precautionary reasons. Greg Allen replaced him.

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(c)2017 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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