Cleveland Indians’ winning streak ends at 22 games

The Kansas City Royals beat Cleveland 4-3 on Friday, snapping the Indians’ American League-record winning streak at 22 games.

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Indians can return to clinching their division and playoff preparations.

Their historic winning streak is, well, history.

Cleveland had its American League-record run stopped at 22 straight games on Friday night as the Indians were beaten 4-3 by the Kansas City Royals, who became the first team to conquer the defending league champions since Aug. 23.

Former Mariner Jason Vargas (16-10) pitched into the sixth and Brandon Moss homered off Trevor Bauer (16-9) as the Royals, who were beaten five times by Cleveland over the past few weeks, ended baseball’s longest winning streak in 101 years.

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The Indians set a new league mark and were four shy of matching the overall record held by the 1916 New York Giants, a 26-game string that included one tie.

Despite the loss, Cleveland’s magic number for clinching the AL Central dropped to two after Minnesota’s loss to Toronto.

Following a magical, walkoff win in extra innings on Thursday night, the Indians couldn’t muster another late rally.

When Francisco Lindor struck out with a runner on first to end it, the sellout crowd of 34,025 gave the Indians a prolonged standing ovation. Manager Terry Francona brought Cleveland’s players out of the dugout to salute their fans, whose cheering grew louder and louder.

This was something they’ll likely never see again in their lifetimes, and both the Indians and their fans wanted to savor every second of an accomplishment while looking forward to October, when the games become more meaningful.

“They’ve been so supportive,” Francona said of the crowd. “The atmosphere around here is incredible, and I think our players wanted to show their appreciation. It’s by no means the last game of the year or anything like that, it’s just been pretty incredible how they’ve reacted and we just wanted to show our appreciation because we don’t take it for granted.

“I don’t think anything is over.”

The Indians, who are already assured a playoff spot, not only surpassed the previous AL record of 20 held by the 2002 “Moneyball” Oakland Athletics, but they served notice they well could be the team to beat in the postseason as they attempt to get back to the World Series and perhaps end their 68-year title…

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