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How do you celebrate amazing, unfulfilling history? Just like Indians did.

CLEVELAND — How do you celebrate history when it’s remarkable, but doesn’t constitute the ultimate goal? How do you tribute a feat that a Major League Baseball team has pulled off just twice in 117 years when you strive most to do something a team accomplishes every year? The Indians welcomed that challenge Wednesday afternoon...
Time: 18:42     Date: 13.09.2017
Last US Sport News: How do you celebrate amazing, unfulfilling history? Just like Indians did. NY Post 24 - US News

How do you tribute a feat that a Major League Baseball team has pulled off just twice in 117 years when you strive most to do something a team accomplishes every year?

The Indians welcomed that challenge Wednesday afternoon at Progressive Field, in front of a boisterous matinee crowd. They threaded the needle: No dog pile on the field. No champagne in the clubhouse. Yet no diminishing, either, of what they had just done.

Their 5-3 victory over the Tigers marked their 21st straight win, an American League record, topping the 20-game winning streak posted by the “Moneyball” 2002 A’s. They tied the 1935 Cubs for what we’ll call the common-sense all-time record of 21 wins in a row; while the Elias Sports Bureau credits the 1916 Giants with a 26-game winning streak. That club captured 14 straight games, then played a tie (ended by rain), then won another 12.

“They should enjoy what they’re doing,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “It’s pretty special.”

It’s special not only because of the results, but also because of the process. Of the 189 innings the Indians have played during this run, which began on Aug. 24, they have trailed for only four, or 2.1 percent. They have outscored their opponents by a 139-35 margin.

“Pitchers are just filling up the zone with strikes. The defense is unbelievable,” former Met Jay Bruce said. “And I think the thing that stands out the most is it really doesn’t matter who we put out there right now.”

Cody Allen and Lonnie ChisenhallJason Miller

The Indians didn’t dominate this record-breaker. This contest carried some anxiety for the 29,346 folks on site (and this count looked and sounded right, rather than just a tickets-sold metric), the rebuilding Tigers’ ineptitude notwithstanding. The Indians fell behind in the top of the first, 1-0, and starting pitcher Mike Clevinger escaped a jam to keep it there. Even after Bruce slammed a three-run homer in the bottom of the first — another inning in the black — the Tigers kept it close enough that Francona went to his primary relievers.

The vibe couldn’t match the energy felt here last Nov. 2, when the Indians’ Rajai Davis slugged an eighth-inning, two-run homer off the Cubs’ Aroldis Chapman to tie Game 7 of the World Series. Of course, the Cubs went on to prevail, ending their title drought at 108 years and extending the Indians’ run of disappointment to 68 years.

So the Indians will hope that success breeds success. That their excellent play now carries over into the postseason. On Thursday night, against the still-in-the-race Royals, they’ll try to pass the ’35 Cubs.

“I feel like we’re just showing up on the field to play,” Clevinger said. “It doesn’t feel like we’re going after something besides that same goal to finish October on top.”

Flags fly forever, whereas records are made to be broken. The ’02 A’s didn’t win so much as a playoff series. All they have now is the “Moneyball” movie.

Bruce has a friendship with Scott Hatteberg, the first baseman-designated hitter on those ’02 A’s, from their time together in spring training with the Reds. The two men texted Tuesday night, Bruce said.

“I just said, ‘Who would’ve thought?’” Bruce recalled. “He said, ‘Good luck, win another one, get a ring.’”

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