Athletics

Cleveland coming for Oakland: Indians blank Tigers for 19th straight win

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AP

Cleveland coming for Oakland: Indians blank Tigers for 19th straight win

BOX SCORE

CLEVELAND -- Unrelenting and unbeatable at the moment, the Cleveland Indians refuse to lose.

With their latest overpowering win, they extended baseball's longest winning streak since 2002 to 19 games with an 11-0 blowout of the Detroit Tigers on Monday night to move closer to a record that has stood for 101 years.

Francisco Lindor tripled home three runs off rookie Myles Jaye (0-1) in the second inning, and the Indians, who haven't lost since Aug. 23, added another blowout to their growing list of lopsided conquests.

The defending AL champions aren't just rolling, they're steamrolling opponents, outscoring them 132-32 during a stretch that includes six shutouts.

Carlos Carrasco (15-6) struck out nine in six innings, Lindor had four RBIs and Jose Ramirez hit a two-run homer as the Indians lowered their magic number to clinch the Central to six.

Cleveland is the sixth team in history to win at least 19 straight, and the streak is the longest since the 2002 Oakland Athletics won 20 in a row - a run that was celebrated in the film "Moneyball."

The Indians can match those A's on Tuesday, and their chances of getting No. 20 are strong with AL Cy Young Award contender Corey Kluber starting.

At this point, it hardly matters who's on the mound.

Cleveland joined the 1906 Chicago White Sox (19), the 1947 New York Yankees (19), the 2002 A's (20), the 1935 Chicago Cubs (21) and the 1916 New York Giants (26) as the only teams to reel off 19 consecutive wins. The Giants' record run is in the books as the major league mark, although it did include a tie, which does not count as an official game in baseball, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Even tying these Indians during a game has been nearly impossible.

Cleveland has trailed in only four of 171 innings, scored first in 18 of 19 games and has hit 38 homers. In a season where other teams have displayed dominance, the Indians stand alone.

"No knock on the Dodgers or the Astros, they're obviously both very good teams," said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. "I think this is the most balanced team and probably the biggest threat to anybody in baseball to win a World Series because they do kind of cover every facet of the game."

Cleveland's streak has happened despite the team missing three of its best players: All-Star reliever Andrew Miller, All-Star left fielder Michael Brantley and second baseman Jason Kipnis. They're all on the disabled list.

"It's just the next guy up," Kipnis said. "It doesn't matter who it is or what goes down. We like the depth that we have. We have the players that go out and compete each night and you're going to win a lot of games when guys play with that attitude."

MILLER MOVING:
Miller threw 30 pitches in a simulated game, a major step in his recovery from knee tendinitis. The team will see how Miller responds Tuesday before deciding the next move. Kipnis faced Miller during the workout and doubled off the left-hander.

"After I fouled one off, I said, `I've already had a better at-bat than I have ever versus him in a game,'" Kipnis said. "He smiled at that one."

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Tigers: RHP Jordan Zimmerman received an injection last week for the neck injury that's bothered him since last season. He will begin a throwing program in the next few days, and Ausmus said Zimmerman will make a few more starts if there are no setbacks. Zimmerman is 8-12 with a 6.18 ERA in 27 starts. ... OF Mikie Mahtook (sore left groin) was out of the lineup for the third straight day.

Indians: Rookie CF Bradley Zimmer will undergo surgery on his broken left hand on Tuesday in New York. Zimmer got stepped on while diving into first base on Sunday. The Indians do not have a timetable on his return, but it's safe to assume his season is over.

UP NEXT:
Kluber is 7-1 with a 1.92 ERA in his last eight starts. The right-hander, who leads the AL in ERA (2.56) and opponent batting average (.192), will face Detroit's Matt Boyd.

Olson breaks Oakland rookie record by homering in fifth consecutive game

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Olson breaks Oakland rookie record by homering in fifth consecutive game

The beat goes on for Matt Olson, who set an Oakland rookie record Tuesday by homering for the fifth consecutive game.

That makes it 23 in just 55 games this season for the A’s first baseman, and an astonishing 15 homers in his past 21 games. In his first plate appearance Tuesday, Olson pounded a hanging 0-1 curve from Tigers lefty Chad Bell deep into the right field seats at Comerica Park.

Since Aug. 11, Olson leads the American League with 19 homers. And his 23 homers are the most in franchise history over the first 66 games of a career.

According to @dakern74, just three others in Oakland history have ever gone deep five games in a row: Dave Kingman in 1986, Matt Stairs in 1998 and Frank Thomas in 2006.

A by-the-numbers look at Matt Olson's home run tear

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USATI

A by-the-numbers look at Matt Olson's home run tear

When it comes to power hitting, rookie first baseman Matt Olson has enjoyed one of the most impressive career-opening stretches in A’s history.

He went deep again in Monday night’s 8-3 victory over Detroit. Although he’s only played in roughly one-third of Oakland’s games this year, Olson has vaulted into a tie for fourth on the team with 22 homers this season.

Here’s a glance inside some of the numbers behind the rookie’s home run tear:

22 — Olson’s 2017 —and career — home run total. Those 22 homers tie Mark McGwire for most in franchise history over a player’s first 65 games.

18: The number of times Olson has gone deep since Aug. 11, which leads the American League.

19 — The number of major league games Olson appeared in before connecting for his first homer. That came June 24. Since then, he hasn’t gone more than eight games in the majors without clearing the fence.

47 — Olson was the 47th overall pick of the 2012 draft, a compensation choice between the first and second rounds. He was one of a trio of high school infielders Oakland took with its first three picks that year. The others were two shortstops — Addison Russell (11th overall) and Daniel Robertson (34th).

At the time the A’s said perhaps they had drafted three-fourths of their future infield. But Russell and Robertson eventually got dealt. Now, Olson is part of a different young infield core that could include third baseman Matt Chapman and second baseman Franklin Barreto along with veteran shortstop Marcus Semien.

2: The number of players in the past 30 years to hit 20 homers in both the minors and majors in the same season. Olson has done it this year. Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, who’s generating his share of headlines with his own power hitting, did it back in 2010.

103 The number of homers Olson hit over five minor league seasons leading into this year. That included a whopping 37 for Single-A Stockton in the homer-happy California League in 2014. In comparison, the 17 homers he hit each of the next two seasons at Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville looked paltry. Olson says he struggled for a while to trust his natural power stroke and not try to alter his approach too much to boost those power numbers.

4: The total number of major leaguers produced by Olson’s alma mater of Parkview High School in Lilburn, Ga. The others were outfielder Jeff Francoeur, infielder Jeff Keppinger and catcher Clint Sammons.

4 (Part II): Number of consecutive games Olson has homered in. That ties the Oakland rookie record for most games in a row with a homer. Dan Johnson also homered in four straight from Aug. 3-6, 2005. Extend it out farther, and Olson has gone deep 14 times over his past 20 games. And speaking of that …

14: Olson is tied with a couple of legends when it comes to most homers in a 20-game span in Oakland history. McGwire (1987) and Reggie Jackson (1969) also had 14 over their own 20-game stretches, and Jackson did it twice that season. (Hat tip to A’s P.R. stats guru Mike Selleck for several of these factoids, by the way).

23: Remember that Olson is just 23 years old. His 22 homers are the most in a single season by an Athletic 23 or younger since Eric Chavez swatted 32 back in 2001. Chavez also was 23 at the time.