The Cleveland Indians can return to clinching their division and playoff preparations.
Their historic winning streak is, well, history.
Cleveland had its AL 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.
Jason Vargas (16-10) pitched into the sixth and Brandon Moss homered off Trevor Bauer (16-9) as the Royals ended baseball’s longest win streak in 101 years.
The Indians set a new league mark and came within four of matching the overall record held by the 1916 New York Giants, a 26-game string that included one tie.
“I think it was appropriate. We haven’t lost a game in three weeks. We played a good game,” Cleveland outfielder Jay Bruce said. “It wasn’t like we got just blown out or anything.”
“I think [it was important] to have a bit of a light-hearted attitude about it all, and not take it too hard, obviously, because we’re in a great position. We just did something that, depending on who you ask, one or no teams have ever done. So, it’s one of those deals where we understand what the situation is, and this is not something that would happen very often,” he said.
No more magic
Following a magical, walk-off 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 gave the Indians a prolonged standing ovation. Manager Terry Francona brought Cleveland’s players out of the dugout to salute their fans, whose ovation 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.
The Indians, who are already assured a playoff spot, not only broke the previous record held by the 2002 “Moneyball” Oakland Athletics, but they served notice that they’re the team to beat in the postseason as they attempt to get back to the World Series and perhaps end their 68-year title drought after the Chicago Cubs halted their 108-year drought at Cleveland’s expense in 2016.
With one last chance in the ninth, the Indians put the tying run on base before Royals reliever Mike Minor struck out the…