It had to end sometime, and on Friday, the ending finally came.
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It wasn't without a lot of pride in the city of Cleveland. Though the Indians fell to the American League Central-rival Royals, 4-3, on Friday night, the Tribe can still hold its heads high having completed the second-longest win streak in baseball history, at 22 games. That effort garnered a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd at Progressive Field, and the Indians now can turn their attention back toward getting situated for the upcoming postseason.
• Franchise-best winning streaks for all 30 teams
Already a preseason favorite to return to the World Series and avenge its Game 7 loss to the Cubs last fall, the Tribe is surging into October as a team on a mission. Here are some facts and figures to know as we look back one more time at the Indians' historic run:
• As mentioned, the Indians' 22-game streak is the second-longest win streak in the history of Major League Baseball dating back to 1876. Only the 1916 New York Giants -- who rattled off 26 straight wins -- have put together a longer run of victories.
• The Indians can hang their hats on having recorded the longest win streak in AL history. That used to be 20 straight wins, by the 2002 A's, in a streak that helped inspire both the bestselling book Moneyball by Michael Lewis, and later the Academy Award-nominated film.
• The Indians far surpassed their 14-game winning streak from last season, which was previously the longest in franchise history. Cleveland is the first team since the 1935-36 Cubs -- and only the third club in MLB history -- to have compiled 14-game winning streaks in back-to-back seasons. The only other club to accomplish the feat was the '12-13 New York Giants.
• The Indians' 15-0 start to September prior to Friday's loss tied them with the 1991 Twins (June) and '77 Royals (September) for the best start to any calendar month in baseball history.
• The Indians outscored their opponents 142-37 over the course of their 22 straight wins. They scored in double digits six times, and the pitching staff completed seven shutouts in that span.
• Cleveland had not trailed at the end of 191 of 199 full innings over the course of its 22 straight victories, and it extended that run to 196 of 204 innings before trailing Kansas City over the final four frames of Friday's loss.
• In terms of run differential, at plus-105, the Indians recorded the best 22-game stretch in franchise history, far surpassing July 5-23, 1923, when they outscored opponents by 76 runs. Cleveland's run differential was plus-55 (82-27) during last year's 14-game winning streak.
• Going back to 1900, only three teams -- the '39 Yankees (plus-132), '33 Senators (plus-114) and '04 Giants (plus-108) -- had compiled a run differential of plus-105 or higher over any 22-game stretch before Cleveland.
To the head of the class
• On the morning of Aug. 24, the Indians owned a 69-56 record and a still-tenuous 4-1/2 game lead over the Twins in the AL Central. By winning 22 in a row after that, the Tribe raised itself to a season-high 35 games above .500 at 91-56 before Friday's loss. Its magic number to clinch the division title is down to two. Last season's AL-pennant-winning Indians team finished the 2016 regular season 27 games above .500 with a 94-67 record.
• With a division title within their grasp, the Indians are suddenly in the mix for even bigger honors. The Indians trailed the Astros by 14 games for the AL's best record back on July 22, and they still trailed by 7 1/2 games before their win streak began. Now, as the streak comes to a close, Cleveland enjoys a 2 1/2-game lead over Houston in the race for home-field advantage throughout the AL postseason.
• The Tribe's surge, coupled with a stunning drop-off out west, has brought another fascinating race to the forefront. The Dodgers' record stood at a robust 89-36 on the morning of Aug. 23 before they dropped a heartbreaking game to the Pirates on a night in which Rich Hill carried a no-hitter through nine innings.
The Indians didn't lose their next 22 games, while the Dodgers tripped to an MLB-worst 5-16 record in that span, including losses in 16 of 19 games. That means Cleveland, improbably, is just 4 1/2 games back of Los Angeles for the best record in the Major Leagues with just over two weeks remaining. This race could be key, as 2017 marks the first year in baseball history in which home-field advantage in the Fall Classic will be determined by the club with the best regular-season record.
• Indians starters allowed just 27 earned runs in 137 2/3 innings pitched over their 22 straight victories, for an impressive 1.77 ERA while earning the win in 19 of them.
• Indians starters allowed two runs or fewer in 19 of the Tribe's 22 wins. Corey Kluber (five runs in 32 innings) and Carlos Carrasco (two runs in 29 innings) were especially dominant, combining for 69 strikeouts and three walks during the streak. The two pitchers have a chance to get Cleveland right back on track with consecutive starts this weekend.
• Kluber is now 9-2 at Progressive Field this season with a 1.93 ERA. Should he remain at that level, Kluber would become the first Indians pitcher to record a sub-2.00 ERA at home over at least 100 innings pitched since Sam McDowell (1.79) in 1968.
• Cleveland's bullpen was as impressive as the rotation during the streak. Tribe relievers combined to allow just eight earned runs over 61 1/3 innings (MLB-low 1.17 ERA), coughing up just two home runs and 11 walks while striking out 61 batters. They've done all that while getting just one inning from Andrew Miller, who returned to action with a scoreless frame Thursday.
• One of the Indians' unsung heroes of the streak was left-handed reliever Tyler Olson, whom the Indians called up from Triple-A Columbus in late July when fellow lefty relievers Boone Logan and Miller went down with injury. While the Indians lost Friday, Olson came in and retired Eric Hosmer to extend his personal streak to 23 straight scoreless appearances since his callup. Olson now owns the fourth-longest streak of scoreless outings to open a pitcher's season on record (since at least 1913). Former reliever Will Ohman is next on the list with 25 straight scoreless appearances for the Orioles in April 2010.
• The Indians' seven team shutouts during the streak were more than 13 of the 29 other MLB teams had recorded all season, including the Nationals (five shutouts), who clinched the National League East title last Sunday. The Cubs and Yankees, who both had six, were two other postseason contenders with fewer than seven shutouts on the year.
Keep pounding the drum
• The Indians scored early and often during the streak, plating the first run in 19 of their 22 wins. They've outscored their opponents 69-14 over the first three innings in that span.
• In a season poised to set the all-time mark for most combined home runs by MLB hitters, it's only fitting that the Indians' 41 home runs are the most clubbed by any team over a win streak of any length in baseball history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Cleveland hit more home runs during the streak than the total number of runs its pitchers allowed.
• All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor helped seal the last win of the streak Thursday, knocking a game-tying RBI double off the left-field wall with two outs in the ninth inning before Jay Bruce walked it off in the 10th. Lindor put up an eye-popping .360/.427/.767 slash line with nine home runs over the Indians' 22 straight wins.
Though it came in the Indians' first loss in weeks, Lindor's first-inning double Friday gave him an extra-base hit in nine straight games, tying him with Hal Trotsky (1934) for the longest such streak by an Indians hitter within a single season.
• Lindor's homer in Tuesday's win (No. 20) was his 30th of the season. At age 23, that makes him the youngest shortstop to have a 30-homer season since Alex Rodriguez did in his age-23 season for the Mariners in 1999.
• Lindor's middle-infield mate Jose Ramirez was arguably even more impressive during the streak, especially in Thursday's 4-for-4 performance, which included two doubles and a walk. It was the third time in those 22 victories that Ramirez notched at least four hits in a game, including a 5-for-5 effort on Sept. 3 at Detroit. Ramirez now has five games with at least four hits this season, becoming the fourth Indians player to do that since 1967, joining Asdrubal Cabrera (2009), Carlos Baerga ('93) and Joe Carter ('86).
• In 19 games during the streak, the second baseman put up an incredible .423/.462/.944 with nine homers of his own. He also tacked on another home run in Friday's loss. Ramirez, the AL's leader in extra-base hits, has knocked more than twice as many extra-base hits (21) than singles (10) since Cleveland's streak kicked off on Aug. 24.
• Ramirez's two doubles on Thursday gave him 50 for the season and made him the first Indians player to reach that mark since Player Page for Grady Sizemore hit 53 two-baggers in 2006. Ramirez and Sizemore are two of the seven players to post a 50-double, 25-homer season at age 24 or younger, along with Jose Cabrera, Jose Pujols (twice), Rodriguez, Hank Greenberg and Lou Gehrig.
• The Indians' lineup batted .306 and slugged .551 as a unit while winning 22 games in a row. Both of those marks are the best in baseball.