A Jay Bruce walk-off double helped the Cleveland Indians keep their winning streak alive in dramatic fashion Thursday.
After Francisco Lindor tied things up with an RBI double with two outs in the ninth inning, Bruce brought home Jose Ramirez in the 10th to give Cleveland a 3-2 win over the Kansas City Royals.
MLB provided a look at the game-winning hit:
A #walkoff for the win streak? One of Bruce’s greatest hits, for sure. https://t.co/po5DXhca4T2017-9-15 02:44:28
The victory extended the Tribe's winning streak to 22 games, just four short of the all-time major league record. With the American League mark already in the books, the team is now only chasing the 1916 New York Giants and their 26-game streak.
Cleveland (91-56) also extended its lead in the AL Central to 14 games and could clinch the division by Friday.
The Royals (72-74) are still chasing an AL wild-card berth, although it remains a crowded race behind the Minnesota Twins, who are in the second spot.
Bruce came through with the final hit, although Ramirez was the star of the day. The second baseman went 4-for-4 with two doubles, including a hustle play to get on second for the eventual game-winning run.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports credited the player's work:
Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
Jose Ramirez was a non-prospect. Then he was a utilityman. Then he was an everyday player. Now he's an MVP candidate.2017-9-15 02:28:21
It was the toughest game of the streak for Cleveland, but the team showed it can win in different ways.
The Royals provided a challenge from the start, taking a 1-0 lead off starter Josh Tomlin, a rare moment for the home team as Joel Goldberg of FSKC described:
Joel Goldberg @goldbergkc
Royals have done something they didn't last month in CLE. Score a run. Indians trail after an inning for just 5th time in last 191 innings2017-9-14 23:39:46
Cleveland pulled even on an RBI single by Lonnie Chisenhall in the third, but the Royals later went up 2-1 in the sixth inning on an Eric Hosmer double just under the glove of Abraham Almonte.
Tomlin left the game after 5.2 innings, allowing two runs and six hits with four strikeouts. Meanwhile, the Indians had a difficult time with Royals starter Jake Junis, who allowed just one run in 5.2 innings despite giving up seven hits.
Andrew Miller—in his return from the disabled list—pitched a scoreless seventh inning around a pair of soft hits. However, the Indians still found themselves in rare territory, as noted by Zack Meisel of The Athletic:
Zack Meisel @ZackMeisel
This is the first time since August 23 that the Indians have trailed in the 7th inning or later.2017-9-15 01:26:52
The Tribe loaded the bases in the eighth inning, but they didn't capitalize, as both Jay Bruce and Carlos Santana fouled out.
Down to their last out and last strike, however, Lindor crushed a ball to left field for a game-tying RBI double:
Back against the wall? Hit it off the wall! @Lindor12BC is SO CLUTCH. https://t.co/Y3kC1roTcF2017-9-15 02:20:44
This led to plenty of excitement from those following along:
Bill Simmons @BillSimmons
Holy Indians2017-9-15 02:08:49
WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW. https://t.co/HpEqmo9Ljt2017-9-15 02:09:51
Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
The Indians hit on 21 and it worked.2017-9-15 02:08:59
One inning later, the Indians were able to close out the win with the walk-off double by Bruce.
Although everyone on the team is enjoying the run, some of the players have gotten really used to this success:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Jay Bruce played his first game with the @Indians on Aug. 10. Cleveland is 31-5 since then.2017-9-15 02:33:48
Mark Mulder @markmulder20
Coolest thing to me about this #Indians streak is some of the September callups have NEVER lost an @MLB game!!!2017-9-15 02:35:21
Not everything went perfectly, though, as Chisenhall was forced to leave the game in the fifth inning with calf tightness. Still, the team called it a precautionary measure, per Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.
The four-game series continues Friday with a 7 p.m. ET matchup between Trevor Bauer and Jason Vargas. Carlos Carrasco and Corey Kluber, who have both been nearly unhittable lately, will each get a start over the weekend as the Indians try to extend the streak even longer.