ANAHEIM, Calif.— Some people might have figured the Cleveland Indians were due for a little slump after their winning streak was snapped at 22 games, an American League record.
Instead, they just keep rolling right along.
Jay Bruce had a triple and a double among his three hits, Austin Jackson singled four times and the incredible Indians beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-3 Tuesday night for their 25th victory in 26 games.
Roberto Perez added a solo home run for the AL Central champions to support another strong outing by Mike Clevinger. Having already won their division, the Indians (94-57) now want to chase down the Los Angeles Dodgers (96-55) for the best record in the majors and home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
“We really didn’t think of a letdown when we did lose,” Bruce said. “Keep on going, keep on playing. There are still a lot of games to win. We’re two games back on the Dodgers right now. We’re still within striking distance.”
Edwin Encarnacion added a two-run single in the ninth inning for Cleveland, which defeated the Angels for the ninth consecutive time.
“They took it to us,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. “We haven’t played well in Cleveland and they play us well everywhere. They’re a good club, but I felt right now we match up better than last year or our first series we went to Cleveland.
“But give them credit. They did a good job on the mound. They kept pressuring us on the offensive side and eventually broke through.”
It was a wasted opportunity for the Angels, who could have closed within a half-game of the Twins for the second AL wild card. Minnesota lost to the New York Yankees earlier but maintained its 1½-game lead.
The Angels are suddenly struggling at the plate and they did little against Clevinger (11-5). He went six innings, allowing one run on three hits and two walks while striking out six.
There’s been no letdown at all for Clevinger, who has won his last five starts.
“We’re still on the same mission,” he said. “We’re trying to win games and trying to get the best record. We’re going to try and beat whoever’s out there.”
Tyler Skaggs (2-6) took the loss, allowing two runs on eight hits and a walk. Skaggs has gone 1-5 since coming off the disabled list Aug. 5.
“Tyler had to work hard,” Scioscia said. “I think he had 10 guys on base in five-plus innings. But he made some pitches and kept us in the game. He looked good. He gave us a chance to win. It was just another day offensively we didn’t swing the bat.”
Clevinger was drafted in the fourth round in 2011 by the Angels, but this was his first start in Anaheim.
“I can remember coming here and watching an Angels game in the stands and waiting for my time to be on that mound,” he said. “But I didn’t picture it in a Cleveland Indians uniform. But I’m happy.”
The Angels traded Clevinger to the Indians for reliever Vinnie Pestano in 2014. Pestano was released at the end of the next season.
When you’re winning as frequently as the Indians, you’re putting up plenty of good numbers. Here are a few:
— They have won 12 consecutive road games, tying the franchise record.
— The pitching staff has allowed four or fewer runs in 25 consecutive games.
— Their nine-game winning streak against the Angels is their longest active run against any club.
Indians: Three injured players did not make the trip as Cleveland opened a three-game series in Anaheim: OFs Lonnie Chisenhall (calf), Brandon Guyer (wrist) and Michael Brantley (ankle). The Indians said Brantley went to Vail, Colorado, to have his ankle examined by a specialist. … RHP Danny Salazar, who came out of the bullpen in his last two appearances after returning from a sore elbow, is scheduled to start Thursday.
Angels: 3B Yunel Escobar (oblique) took infield and hit in the cage. Scioscia said the next step would be for Escobar to take batting practice with the team. … RHP Huston Street (groin strain) remains at the team’s facility in Arizona, but Scioscia said Street is running out of time to rejoin the club this season.
Indians: RHP Josh Tomlin (9-9, 5.04 ERA) is scheduled to make his first start against the Angels in two years. He is 2-2 with a 4.09 ERA in five previous starts.
Angels: RHP Ricky Nolasco (6-14, 5.11) continues his search for consistency. He will be looking for his first career victory against the Indians after going 0-3 with a 5.32 ERA in eight games (seven starts).