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Indians stretch winning streak to 18 with win over Orioles

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Indians stretch winning streak to 18 with win over Orioles

CLEVELAND -- Francisco Lindor broke two bats, borrowed one from a teammate, and hit a home run.

It's been like that for the Cleveland Indians of late.

The Indians stretched their franchise-record winning streak to 18 games, beating the Baltimore Orioles 3-2 Sunday night behind homers from Lindor and Roberto Perez in the sixth inning.

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Cleveland's streak is the longest in the majors since Oakland won 20 straight in 2002. The best run in baseball history belongs to the New York Giants, who had a 26-game streak in 1916, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Giants' streak included a tie, which doesn't count as a game in baseball.

Lindor's home run followed Perez's leadoff shot that snapped a 1-all tie. Cleveland's All-Star shortstop broke two bats while running the count to 3-2 against Jeremy Hellickson, then walked to the dugout looking for help. Teammate Abraham Almonte obliged.

"I had no more bats," Lindor said. "I ran out of bats. I prefer to use one that has my handle, so I just saw him and I was like, `Hey, let me use yours.'"

There was one problem, however, with the replacement. Lindor thought his chances to get a hit were slim because he uses a lighter and smaller model, but he hit the next pitch into seats in right field for his 29th homer.

Lindor turned to the dugout before leaving the batters' box and smiled at his teammate.

"I looked at the barrel and I was like `No, there's no chance.' As soon as I hit it, I just looked at him like, `This is a good bat,'" he said.

This latest win came with a drawback: Indians rookie center fielder Bradley Zimmer broke a bone in his left hand. Zimmer slid into first base trying to beat out a ground ball and got his hand stepped on. Manager Terry Francona said Zimmer will see a hand specialist this week.

The crowd of 21,259 roared in the ninth inning as Cody Allen recorded his 26th save. He struck out the first two hitters and retired Trey Mancini on a line drive to right field to end the game.

Cleveland hasn't lost since Aug. 23 and has outscored its opponents 121-32 in the streak. Cleveland has trailed in only four of 162 innings during the stretch.

The Indians are a game ahead of Houston for the league's best record and reduced their magic number to clinch the AL Central to seven. Cleveland trailed Houston by 14 games on July 22.

The New York Yankees won 19 in a row in 1947, which the Indians can match Monday against Detroit, but Francona doesn't want his players to change their approach.

"Maybe this thing gets more carried away with other people as opposed to us," he said. "We just play the game."

Trevor Bauer (16-8) allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings. The right-hander moved into a tie with Boston's Chris Sale for the league lead in wins and has won nine straight decisions.

Jose Ramirez, back in the lineup after missing three games with a sore wrist, had an RBI groundout in the first. Baltimore tied it in the sixth on Jonathan Schoop's single.

Chris Davis hit a solo homer in the seventh for Baltimore, which has lost four straight and is three games out of the wild-card race. Hellickson (3-3) allowed three runs in six innings.

"At this point, we need to win every game," Davis said. "There's a lot stacked against us, we know that, but we're still in the fight."

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

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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.

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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.

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NL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

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