14-win streak shows Tribe's commitment, grit

Cleveland's record-breaking victory comes in 19-inning affair

July 2nd, 2016

TORONTO -- Trevor Bauer did not leave the field. Maybe he thought he never would. The Indians' pitcher stood near the mound at Rogers Centre, his head tilted skyward, wearing an expression that conveyed both exhaustion and relief.

Cleveland did it. It took more than six hours and it required 19 innings, but the team finally did it. After Carlos Santana's solo home run in the top of the last inning and Bauer's fifth and final shutout frame of the day, the Indians finished off a draining, 2-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Friday to win a 14th consecutive game, setting a franchise record.

Following the last out, Bauer waited to let the win sink in.

"I didn't really know what to do," he said. "I was like, 'It ended? We won?'"

When Bauer induced a groundout to shortstop off the bat of Devon Travis to close out the 19th inning, yes, the Indians won. They have won more games in a row than any Cleveland club, and this is a storied franchise that has been around for 115 seasons. The Tribe won 13 in a row in 1951 and in '42, but this is new territory for the team, and a first in some time for the American League.

Not since the 2002 A's won 20 straight -- a streak that helped inspire the book "Moneyball" and a movie starring Brad Pitt -- has an AL team enjoyed at least 14 wins in a row.

Indians starter Josh Tomlin, who logged six strong innings to begin the afternoon game against Toronto, continued Cleveland's recent stretch of strong rotation work. With his effort, the Tribe's starting staff now has a 1.83 ERA and 0.85 WHIP over the past 14 games. This latest win took a lot more than him, though. It also took eight other pitchers, including Bauer, who was slated to start on Saturday.

"The character we have in here," Tomlin said, "the never-die, the never-give-up attitude, was awesome. ... We just hung in there and fought until the end, until we had a chance to win a ballgame."

Cleveland's bullpen, which has had little work of late due to the Tribe's great starting pitching, worked 13 shutout innings, including seven no-hit frames, after Tomlin's exit. Bauer found out in the 12th that he might be needed, and -- pitching on short rest -- he turned in five innings on 83 pitches. It marked the first time since Sept. 10, 1983, that the Indians had two pitchers log five or more innings in the same game.

Tomlin said Bauer's effort is an example of why the Indians are on this kind of run.

"We have 25 guys right now that are buying in," Tomlin said. "They're playing as a team and doing whatever it takes to help us win a game today. We'll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. If we didn't have guys buying into that, if you didn't have a Trevor Bauer that can go in the bullpen and log the innings that he logged today for us, this game might be different. That, to me, is the biggest thing for this year."

That mentality echoes the message that manager Terry Francona has preached daily since he took the helm in Cleveland prior to the 2013 season.

Even on Friday, Francona had little to say in terms of The Streak.

"I'm being truthful when I say that I really don't get caught up in that," Francona said. "I like when we're playing good baseball, obviously. I think our guys pay attention to detail, which is good. When we lose, whenever we lose -- I hope we don't lose for a while -- but when we do, that's not going to change my outlook.

"I think we need to just show up every day and play the way we're playing, and we'll be OK. I've always felt that way."

For this win, there were 606 pitches and 41 players used.

Cleveland waited more than a century for this type of streak, so what's another six hours?

"Up 'til today, it's been awesome," Bauer quipped. "I guess if you're going to set a record, you might as well do it the hard way."