Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers, at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 12, 2017Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers, at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 12, 2017 (AFP Photo/Jason Miller)
Washington (AFP) - Cleveland's Corey Kluber pitched nine shut-out innings on Tuesday as the Indians tied the American League record with their 20th straight victory, a 2-0 triumph over the Detroit Tigers.
Before an enthusiastic home crowd in Cleveland, Francisco Lindor homered in the first inning to put the Indians in front.
When it was over, they had tied the American League mark for consecutive victories set by the 2002 Oakland Athletics.
The Indians have outscored their opponents 134-32 during their run.
Their starting pitchers are 18-0 with a 1.71 ERA during the streak.
"We haven't talked about it at all," Kluber said of the winning streak.
"I haven't heard anybody talking about how many games in a row we've won. We're aware of it just because the attention it gets, but it's not something we're focusing on. It's more coming to the field each day and preparing to win a game."
Kluber struck out eight and didn't walk a batter, giving up five hits in a display that underscores his status as a Cy Young Award candidate.
"He's one of the best in the game," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. "He throws four pitches. They all look the same coming out of his hand, but they all move differently."
The Indians notched their seventh shut-out of the streak. Their 19th shut-out of the season leads the major leagues.
Tigers starting pitcher Matthew Boyd threw 116 pitches in five innings, giving up one run on six hits with five strikeouts.
"We got some good pitching. We just couldn't muster any runs against Kluber," Ausmus said.
Leading 1-0 and having stranded runners in the second and third, the Indians pushed across a second run in the sixth.
Tigers relief pitcher Blaine Hardy started the sixth and gave up a double to Carlos Santana. Santana moved to third on a groundout by Jay Bruce.
Drew VerHagen replaced Hardy and struck out Yandy Diaz on three pitches for the second out. Francisco Mejia, pinch-hitting for Brandon Guyer, was intentionally walked.
With Yan Gomes at the plate, VerHagen's wild pitch bounced far enough from home plate to allow Santana to score from third, putting the Indians up 2-0.
- 'Fun game' -
Lindor had led off the bottom of the first by belting a 2-2 pitch from Boyd over the left field wall.
Lindor's third homer in the past four games was his 30th of the season.
With two outs in the ninth inning, Kluber gave up a double to Alex Presley, bringing Miguel Cabrera to the plate.
In 57 career at-bats against Kluber, Cabrera has six home runs, with 12 runs-batted-in.
"Miggy's the last guy you want to see hitting," Indians manager Terry Francona admitted.
But Cabrera grounded out on Kluber's 113th pitch of the night to end the game.
"That was a fun game to be a part of," Francona said.