CLEVELAND — The Indians ended the suspense early Monday night at Progressive Field.
The winning streak — and the dominance within it — raged on.
Cleveland extended its franchise-record win streak to 19 games, and did so quickly, scoring seven times within the first four innings in blanking the Tigers 11-0.
The Indians became just the sixth team in major league history to record a winning streak of at least 19 games, moving within one victory of the modern era’s longest streak, set by Oakland in 2002.
During the run, Cleveland has laid waste to its opponents, outscoring them 132-32 and trailing at the end of only four of 171 innings.
The Indians have made history behind a one-day-at-a-time mantra from manager Terry Francona, as cliche as that may sound.
“Our message is always consistent, ‘Show up and try to outplay them today,’ and they’re doing a really good job of that,” Francona said. “I think to be a good team spreading out games is important, and the guys have done a really good job of that.
“We haven’t had to tax our bullpen and we’ve been able to get a lot of guys in games so everybody feels like they’re part of what we’re doing. They’re doing a good job — that’s an understatement.”
“It is good, everyone knows,” starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco said. “We’ve been playing hard, we’ve been pitching good, we make the plays we’re supposed to make. Everything is coming together. That’s the main part and that’s what we continue to do.”
Carrasco needed little assistance from the offense to record his 15th win, shutting out Detroit on seven hits over six innings, while striking out nine without a walk.
“He didn’t feel real strong coming into the game and early he had to pitch out of some traffic, but he executed pitches,” Francona said of Carrasco, who reached 201 strikeouts for the season. “Because of whatever has happened in past years, he’s thrown more than he ever has. He looks strong.”
Carrasco is in the midst of a dominant stretch that has seen him allow a run or none in six of his last seven outings. Over his last four starts covering 29 innings, Carrasco has surrendered two earned runs while striking out 34 and walking one.
“I think I have three starts (left in the regular season) and I need to do my best job and kinda finish my season,” Carrasco said. “The most important thing is finishing my season strong.”
For the 18th time during the streak, the Indians scored first.
A leadoff walk from Carlos Santana in the second was followed by four straight hits. Francisco Lindor’s triple cleared the bases after a single from Yan Gomes scored the first run.
A sacrifice fly from Jose Ramirez scored the final run in the five-run inning.
Over the streak, the Indians have outscored opponents 63-12 within the first three innings.
Ramirez’s two-run home run in the fourth put the Indians in front 7-0, but the second baseman wasn’t around to join the victory celebration after leaving the game when he was struck on the left forearm by a pitch from Warwick Saupold to lead off the sixth.
It was originally ruled a hit by pitch, but Detroit challenged the call and replays revealed that the ball hit Ramirez’s bat before ricocheting into his arm.
The injury isn’t considered serious, with the Indians announcing that Ramirez left the game for precautionary reasons.
Cleveland also announced that rookie outfielder Bradley Zimmer would undergo surgery today to repair a broken bone in his left hand. There is no timetable for his return, but the team has not confirmed that Zimmer will miss the rest of the season.
Right-hander Danny Salazar made his first appearance since leaving the injured list, working two scoreless innings of relief. He allowed just a hit while striking out one.
“The ball came out really well and he commanded enough that he could get to his change-up,” Francona said. “You could tell by the way he was throwing his arm feels good.”
The Indians, who trimmed their magic number to six, notched their major league-high 18th shutout, which accounts for the most since they recorded 23 in 1968.
They’ve blanked seven opponents during a winning streak they would prefer to have others focus on.
“We haven’t really paid attention to it. We pay attention ’cause you guys bring it up,” Lindor said. “We’re just enjoying the ride.”