Cleveland Indians tie winning-streak record at Detroit Tigers’ expense

The Indians' Carlos Santana scores on a wild pitch by Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Drew VerHagen during the sixth inning Tuesday in Cleveland. (AP photo)

By TOM WITHERS

AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND — Francisco Lindor skipped through the doorway and into the Indians’ clubhouse, where the pulsating music was at an ear-splitting level.

As many of his teammates dressed quickly with another game just 14 hours away, Cleveland’s star shortstop worked the room, exchanging high-fives with anyone he could find.

It’s almost unthinkable for a team to win 20 straight games.

Usually, that only happens in the movies.

“Moneyball” has its sequel.

Following a familiar script of scoring first, playing strong defense and riding dominant pitching, the Indians extended their winning streak to 20 and matched the AL mark held by the 2002 Oakland Athletics, beating the Detroit Tigers 2-0 on Tuesday night.

Cleveland’s streak, which began Aug. 24 in Boston, is tied for the majors’ second-longest in 82 years — and the Indians show no signs of stopping.

“It’s special,” Lindor said. “As a kid, you dream about playing in front of a lot of fans and the crowd goes nuts. That’s what you want. This is for them. It’s not for us.”

Lindor homered leading off the first and Corey Kluber (16-4) strengthened his Cy Young Award case with a five-hitter as Cleveland joined the 2002 A’s, 1935 Chicago Cubs (21) and 1916 New York Giants (26) as the only teams since 1900 to win at least 20 in a row.

The Progressive Field crowd of 24,654, hanging on each pitch as though it was October, stood and roared when Kluber sprinted to the mound for the ninth.

Second baseman Jose Ramirez made a sensational diving stop in short right field to throw out Ian Kinsler for the second out, and after allowing a double to Alex Presley, Kluber sealed win No. 20 — and Cleveland’s seventh shutout during the streak — by getting Miguel Cabrera on an easy grounder to third.

The Tigers have been beaten six times by the Indians during their streak.

“In a way, it doesn’t surprise me,” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said of Cleveland’s three-week dominance. “Because if any team could do it, it’s them. They’ve got it all.”

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TRAINER’S ROOM

Tigers: DH Victor Martinez underwent a heart ablation to correct an irregular heartbeat that caused the five-time All-Star to be hospitalized last month. The 38-year-old is expected to return next season. …. RHP Michael Fulmer had ulnar nerve transposition surgery in Pensacola, Florida. Last season’s AL Rookie of the Year is expected to be ready for spring training.