After winning 21 straight games and capturing the attention and imagination of baseball fans across the country, the Cleveland Indians were down to their last strike.
The Indians have been dominant throughout their streak, posting a run differential in 21 games that any major league team would feel lucky to produce in a season, and having only trailed four innings during the entirety of the streak. However, Thursday night was the first time in weeks where it felt like the Indians might fall short.
Down 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth to the Kansas City Royals, it was up to Francisco Lindor to keep the Indians historic run alive. Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera got the count to 2-2 and all of a sudden Lindor and the Indians were down to their final strike, just one missed swing away from their run fading into history.
Lindor laced a double to the left field wall, far enough to score Erik Gonzalez from first base to tie the game and force extra innings.
You can watch the clutch hit below, courtesy of MLB.
After stifling the Royals’ bats in the tenth, the Indians were quick to get base runners in the bottom half of the inning, bringing Jay Bruce to the plate with no outs and runners on first and second. Bruce, who the Indians acquired midseason to sure up their bats for a playoff run, laced a double to right field to extend the Indians winning streak to 22 games.
With the win and the Los Angeles Angels loss to the Astros, the Indians have officially clinched a playoff berth — the team could lose all 15 of its remaining games and still make it to the postseason, although that seems unlikely at the moment. Instead, with a few more wins this weekend the Indians could clinch their division and challenge the New York Giants record of 26 straight games unbeaten set in 1916.
Either way, being the best team in over a century of baseball isn’t a bad title to own.
A #walkoff for the win streak?
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