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VELAND -- Michael Brantley didn't care about the hitting streak -- he just wanted to knock in an insurance run.
The Indians' center fielder came to the plate with runners on first and third and the Indians holding a one-run lead over the Pirates in the eighth inning of Cleveland's 2-0 win Friday night. Brantley promptly delivered an RBI single to right field, and extended his career-best hitting streak to 22 games in the process. Brantley was 1-for-4 in the game.
"He's a cool cat, man," Indians manager Manny Acta said of Brantley. "He doesn't get over-excited or anything like that. That streak was on the line right there and he wasn't even thinking about that. He was just thinking about driving the run in. He had a very good at-bat again, and was able to get the huge hit."
Brantley's clutch RBI made closer Chris Perez's job much easier in the ninth. With a two-run lead, Perez had the luxury of using his fastball early in the count instead of going exclusively with his slider.
While Perez was thankful for the run support, he was also happy for his teammate.
"Everybody that was still in the bullpen, once [Carlos] Santana had that good at-bat and walked, we were all like, 'Yes,'" Perez said. "Just so he could get another shot to keep it going. He came through. That was huge."
Brantley's current streak is the longest in the Majors this season and the longest by an Indians hitter since Casey Blake hit safely in 26 straight games in 2007. During the streak -- which began May 20 against Miami -- Brantley is hitting .337 with 15 RBIs. He has raised his average from .255 to .284 during that span.
Perhaps due to superstition, though, Brantley continues to deny such a streak even exists.
"What streak?" Brantley said when asked if he was thinking about it during his last at-bat. "I don't even know what you're talking about."
Sandy Alomar Jr. holds the Indians' franchise record for the longest hitting streak, hitting safely in 30 straight games in 1997.