CLEVELAND – For anyone who may have questioned whether a team could possibly be any better at any given moment, or a stretch of baseball any more sublime and intoxicating than the Cleveland Indians and the Winning Streak That Will Not Die had been over the course of three straight weeks without a loss, the answer came in moments small and large Thursday night at Progressive Field. And it amounted to: Yes, absolutely.
It came crashing in with epic hits and thunderous roars, all leading up to the Indians’ 22nd consecutive victory, an MLB record. There was Francisco Lindor’s game-tying, RBI double off the left-field wall with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, and Jay Bruce’s walk-off double in the 10th, securing a 3-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals that was unlike any other in the course of a streak that started more than three weeks ago and had never really been threatened before Thursday night.
The Indians haven’t treated any single win during the streak as anything more than another small milestone in baseball’s daily marathon over the hills and turns of a six-month regular season. And if Thursday night’s victory carried an extra dose of emotion, it was only partly due to the fact the Indians now own sole possession of the longest winning streak in major league history, passing the 1935 Chicago Cubs, who won 21 straight (and notwithstanding the 26 straight, interrupted by a tie, won by the 1916 New York Giants).
But it was also because, before Thursday night, the Indians not only had not required walk-off heroics to win a game during the streak, they hadn’t trailed at all after the sixth…
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