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ANAHEIM, CALIF.—It’s time for the 2017 Cleveland Indians to be introduced to the one and only . . . 1884 Providence Grays.
They share some unlikely history, the two teams, which played a mere 141 years apart, as they are the only two clubs to have ever won 27 out of 28 games.
The Indians joined the Grays on Thursday when Francisco Lindor’s three-run homer led Cleveland to a 4-1 victory and three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels.
The Grays ended up winning 28 of 29, leaving the Indians one game shy of matching the record.
“We want to keep it going,” Cleveland reliever Dan Otero said. “I mean, it’s crazy. That stuff doesn’t happen in baseball.”
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It may have looked a little too familiar to the Angels, who lost to the Indians for the 11th consecutive time.
“They’re good, but any team can be beaten if you’re doing the things you need to do,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We didn’t do it consistently enough.”
It was a damaging series for the Angels, who have lost four of their last five overall in a struggling effort to overtake the Minnesota Twins for the final AL wild-card berth.
After hitting a two-run homer Wednesday night, Lindor came back with a game-winning, three-run homer in the fifth Thursday off Parker Bridwell (8-3) to break up a 1-1 game. It was his 32nd home run.
The Indians started right-hander Danny Salazar, largely in an effort to see if he can be a viable post-season reliever. He went 2 2/3 innings, allowing the one run, two hits and three walks.
Five Cleveland relievers did not allow a run. The victory went to Zack McAllister (2-2) who threw 1 1/3 innings. Tyler Olson worked a scoreless ninth for his first career save.
“That’s what we’re built around—the pitching staff,” Lindor said. “They’ve been carrying us the whole year. It’s fun whenever they all get a chance in the game. I’m glad I’m on this team.”
The Angels took their only lead against the Indians this season in the first when Mike Trout walked and scored on a double by Albert Pujols.
Edwin Encarnacion hit his 37th home run to lead off the second and tie it.
The victory left the Indians 96-57, still one game behind the Dodgers for the best overall record and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
“We just focus on what we have in front of our feet,” Lindor said. “We really don’t pay attention to any other teams.”
Lindor’s home run was drilled into the trees beyond the centre field wall, but the two hits that preceded it barely fell.
Yan Gomes led off the fifth with a high pop-up that fell between three defenders and nicked off the glove of right fielder Kole Calhoun.
“There were a lot of things involved,” Scioscia said. “There was wind, there was sun. It was kind of in the Bermuda Triangle.”
Giovanny Urshela followed with a hit that just went off the glove of leaping shortstop Andrelton Simmons.
“He gave everything he had to catch that ball,” Scioscia said. “It had a little rise to it and just ticked off the end of his glove.”