CLEVELAND -- YFN Lucci’s hip-hop song, “Everyday We Lit,” bellowed from a victorious Cleveland clubhouse Saturday afternoon.
It was about as appropriate as can be.
The on-fire Indians continued their march toward history, extending their franchise-record winning streak to 17 games with a 4-2 victory over Baltimore at Progressive Field.
It is the second-longest winning streak in the modern era of the majors (since 1961) behind Oakland’s 20-game streak in 2002. The 1916 New York Giants hold the MLB record at 26, but it includes a tie, with the longest winning streak without a tie belonging to the 1935 Chicago Cubs (21).
“It’s hard to (put into words),” Cleveland’s starting pitcher Josh Tomlin said of the winning streak. “I feel like we just come to the ballpark every day preparing to win. That’s all we do. When you’re on a roll like this, everything is kinda falling your way, things are going your way. It makes it a lot of fun. It kinda allows you to relax and just go out there and play and good things happen.
“We’ve got a good team, we understand that. When everything starts clicking and going in the right direction, we’re able to put up numbers like we’re all putting up right now. This is pretty special.”
To say the least.
The Indians, who are a whopping 30 games over .500, have put up some mind-boggling numbers during the streak -- outscoring opponents 118-30, while trailing in only four of 153 innings.
Saturday, Cleveland failed to score first for the first time since its last loss, Aug. 23 against Boston and actually trailed through the first two innings.
But Giovanny Urshela’s RBI double in the third inning tied the game, with Jay Bruce’s single in the fourth giving the Indians the lead for good.
Carlos Santana’s second double of the day put Cleveland in front 3-1, with Francisco Lindor’s 28th home run in the seventh providing some insurance after the Orioles closed to within a run on a homer from Tim Beckham off Tomlin in the sixth.
After allowing three hits in the opening inning, Tomlin got in a groove, retiring 13 straight before Beckham’s homer.
“When JT’s pitching, he doesn’t walk people and he threw his breaking ball,” manager Terry Francona said. “I think in talking to him, that was probably the pitch he felt most comfortable today. I don’t think he was real comfortable with everything else, it didn’t look like it. He sure knows how to pitch.”
Tomlin turned it over to the bullpen, which blanked Baltimore on only one hit over the final four innings. Bryan Shaw struck out the side in the eighth and Cody Allen earned his 25th save by retiring the side in order in the ninth.
“He’s reliable,” Francona said of Shaw. “He’s at the top of the leaderboard again in appearances. It doesn’t look like that tank is on empty. It seems like he gets stronger as the year goes.”
The Indians certainly are.
Once thought of as a long shot, Cleveland is closing in on Houston for the American League’s top record. The Astros led the Indians by as many as 14 games at one point, but Cleveland had trimmed the deficit to 1 1/2 games entering Saturday.
“I would say that is being more thought about than 17 in a row or what our record is since the All-Star break,” Allen said. “Yeah we would love to have homefield advantage throughout (the postseason), but we can’t control what they’re doing. The only thing we can control is how we show up, how we prepare to go out and play a baseball game.”
“You see yourself creeping up on the top team in the AL and you start to think about the advantages of homefield advantage,” Tomlin said. “We definitely know where we are in the standings and where we are behind Houston. We understand if we go out there and play our style of baseball, then we have a chance to catch them.”