This Day In Sports: Cleveland couldn’t go on forever

September 15, 2017, five years ago today: The Cleveland Indians’ 22-game winning streak, the longest in American League history, comes to an end in a 4-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals. Cleveland fell just four games short of the 101-year-old big league record of 26 straight. The previous AL mark had been held by the Oakland A’s, who won 20 in a row in 2002 during their “Moneyball” days.

During the incredible run, the Indians outscored their opponents by 105 runs and logged seven shutouts. Cleveland’s average margin of victory was 4.8 runs, the largest spread for a streak of 15 or more games since 1903. The Indians hit a scorching .329 as a team and actually hit more home runs than the overall runs they allowed, 41 to 37.

Cleveland went on to finish the season with the best record in the AL at 102-60 under manager Terry Francona. Their 102 wins were the most by the franchise since 1954. The Indians won the AL Central for the second straight year, but in the AL Division Series they were upset by the New York Yankees, four games-to-one. The previous year Cleveland had won the AL pennant before falling to the Chicago Cubs in the historic 2016 World Series. The Indians—now the Guardians, of course—have not won it all in 74 years.

The Major League (and National League) record winning streak of 26 straight games was set by the New York Giants in 1916. The Chicago Cubs won 21 in a row in 1935, but no NL team has reached 20 since. In fact, the closest a team has come is 17 consecutive wins—the St. Louis Cardinals were the most recent team to do it, just last year.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

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