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Cleveland wins 16th straight game with 5-0 shutout of Baltimore

Cleveland wins 16th straight game with 5-0 shutout of Baltimore

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Edwin Encarnacion and the Cleveland Indians won their 16th straight game, extending the best streak in franchise history by beating the Baltimore Orioles 5-0 Friday night.

Encarnacion hit a three-run homer in the first inning into some trees in center field next to Heritage Park, the team's hallowed area where past Cleveland stars and teams are immortalized.

These 2017 Indians are making a case for their inclusion.

Mike Clevinger (9-5) improved his chances to pitch in the postseason with six strong innings as AL Central leaders became just the third team in the expansion era -- since 1961 -- to win 16 straight in a season.

Cleveland's string is the longest in the majors since Oakland won 20 straight in 2002. The longest winning streak in major league history is 21 by the 1935 Chicago Cubs.

The 1916 New York Giants had a string of 26 wins and one tie.

The Indians haven't lost since Aug. 23. Perhaps more impressively, the defending AL champions have trailed only twice during the 16-game span and have outscored their opponents 114-28.

And these Indians might not be done streaking.

Back from going 11-0 on the road, Cleveland began a 10-game homestand with its fifth shutout during the 16-game roll.

The Orioles managed just four hits in the opener of a 10-day trip. Baltimore began the day two games back in the nine-team, wild-card scramble.

Encarnacion hit his 34th home run, connecting off Wade Miley (8-12) and that was plenty for Clevinger.

Clevinger (9-5) pitched three-hit ball over six innings, his third straight six-inning scoreless outing.

He's gone 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA in his last three starts, and with Danny Salazar struggling, the 26-year-old Clevinger could factor heavily into Cleveland's playoff pitching plans as the club tries to get back to the World Series.

As has been the case in every game during the streak, the Indians scored first, jumping to a 3-0 lead on Encarnacion shot.

Carlos Santana made it 4-0 in the sixth with a ground-rule RBI double.

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Wade Miley roughed up again, Orioles shut out in St. Pete

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USA Today Sports

Wade Miley roughed up again, Orioles shut out in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison homered Friday night and the Tampa Bay Rays clinched third place in the AL East with a 7-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Longoria led off the fifth with his 20th homer off Baltimore starter Wade Miley, marking Longoria's fifth straight 20-homer season and the ninth of his 10-year career.

RELATED: WILD CARD RACES WITH THREE DAYS REMAINING

Morrison hit his 38th homer off reliever Chris Tillman in the seventh.

Rays starter Jake Odorizzi left his final start of the season after four innings with a sore right knee.

Brad Boxberger (4-4) got the win as the first of four Tampa Bay relievers.

Miley (8-15) lost his fifth straight start, giving up four runs and five hits in four innings. He walked five, raising his major league-leading total to 93. The Baltimore bullpen gave up five more walks.

Trey Mancini had one of Baltimore's four hits. It was Mancini's 158th hit, tying Cal Ripken (1982) for second-place all-time among Oriole rookies.

The Orioles, shut out for the 11th time, lost for the 17th time in 21 games and dropped three games behind Tampa Bay with two games left in the season.

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MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with three days left

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USA TODAY Sports

MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with three days left

With the MLB postseason only five days away and three more days in the regular season the playoff field is almost set.

After Thursday night’s action, the St. Louis Cardinals were eliminated from the second Wild Card spot in the National League. Their 2-1 loss to the Cubs put them too far out of reach of the Rockies.

In the American League the AL East race is all but done after the Yankees lost on Thursday.

RELATED: NEW MLB BRACKET PROJECTION WITH ONE WEEK TO GO

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Not too many changes in the American League race after yesterday.

The New York Yankees (89-70) lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 9-6 at home after entering the day only three games back in the division. While the Boston Red Sox (92-67) lost too, three games to surpass is too much for even the Bronx Bombers to overcome.

It will be interesting though to watch both teams sweat. Boston hosts the Houston Astros who are trying to overtake the Indians for the top seed in the AL. New York hosts division rivals Toronto.

The Minnesota Twins (83-76) lost to the Indians after allowing 10 hits in the contest. Win or lose it does not matter how they end the season because they will be the No. 5 seed and the visitors in the American League Wild Card Game. Presumably it will be against the Yankees.

AL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

New York Yankees:     +6.0 
Minnesota Twins:           ---
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Colorado was off on Thursday night in preparation for their final series of the year against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Milwaukee Brewers (84-75) did manage to gain a half game with their nail biting 4-3 win over the Reds. Brett Phillips hit a go-ahead double in the sixth inning and the final three frames remained scoreless for both squads.

They now move to two games back of the Colorado Rockies (86-73) with three games to go.

Colorado will host their final series against the Dodgers. Milwaukee is traveling to the St. Louis Cardinals (82-77) for their final three games. St. Louis is now out of contention, four games out of the final Wild Card spot.

FanGraphs.com now has Colorado at a 93.3 percent chance of taking the final postseason spot.  Milwaukee moved up slightly to 6.7 percent.

MORE NATS: WALK-OFF FOR THE NATS, COURTESY OF DE AZA

NL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

#4 Arizona Diamondbacks:  +6.0
Colorado Rockies:                   ---
Milwaukee Brewers:              -2.0