Francisco Lindor extends extra-base hit streak; Indians later wrap up AL Central title

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CLEVELAND -- Francisco Lindor popped out of the chair at his clubhouse cubicle and asked a question before any reporter could get one off.

"You guys aren't going to ask me about the streak, are you?" Cleveland's jovial shortstop said, smiling.

Well, yes. Yours.

While the Indians' historic winning streak is no longer the talk of baseball, Lindor's on a personal roll that's become notable.

The All-Star set a club record with another extra-base hit and the Indians bounced back after having their AL record streak stopped at 22 by beating the Kansas City Royals 8-4 on Saturday. A few hours later, Cleveland was assured its second straight AL Central title, thanks to the Twins' loss to the Blue Jays.?

Lindor's double in the sixth off Jason Hammel (8-12) gave him an extra-base hit in 10 straight games -- a club record and four shy of the major league mark of 14, shared by Chipper Jones (2006) and Paul Waner (1927).

"I didn't even know that," Lindor said. "I saw it on the scoreboard."

Lindor also is the first shortstop in the modern era (since 1900) with an extra-base hit in 10 straight games.

Carlos Carrasco (16-6) pitched into the seventh as the Indians improved to 32-5 in their last 37 games.

Lindor wasn't planning on watching the Twins or celebrating if the Indians clinched.

"I'm watching the fight," he said. "I'm watching the Canelo fight, eating pizza."

Edwin Encarnacion hit his 35th homer for Cleveland.

Alex Gordon connected for the Royals, whose wild-card hopes took another blow and dropped 18 1-2 games behind the Indians.

"They're all hot," Hammel said. "There's a good reason they're going to be wrapping it up."

Less than 24 hours after losing for the first time in three weeks, the defending AL champion Indians returned to the business of taking their second straight division crown and ninth since 1995.

Following Friday's 4-3 loss, the Indians were warmly saluted by their fans, who and gave them a rousing standing ovation in appreciation for the longest win streak baseball has seen since the 1916 New York Giants won 26 in a row.

No doubt the streak was fun, but it served as little more than a September diversion for these Indians. They have one goal -- a Series title -- after losing in seven games last year to the Chicago Cubs.

"I was happy about that," Indians manager Terry Francona said of his team's ability to rebound. "I didn't think we wouldn't, but it's nice to see them go right back to trying to be as good of a team as we can be."

The sensational Lindor is leading their charge.

With the Indians up by a run and with two on in the sixth, Lindor doubled high off the left-field wall to make 5-2. It was Lindor's 40th double and broke a tie with Hal Trosky, who hit either a double, triple or homer in nine consecutive games for Cleveland in 1934.

"He's using the whole field." Francona said. "And he's strong enough and he's got probably 1,500 at-bats under his belt. So, he knows the league and he understands situations more. That comes with experience. So he's still every bit as dangerous. He just also is finding his hits, spraying the ball around."

SWEET 16s

The Indians now have three pitchers -- Kluber, Carrasco and Trevor Bauer -- with 16 wins. They are the first Cleveland pitchers to get at least 16 in the same season since Early Wynn, Bob Lemon and Herb Score in 1956.

MILLER

Indians All-Star reliever Andrew Miller made his second appearance since returning from the disabled list and faced one batter. He retired Lorenzo Cain on two pitches.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Royals: All-Star C Salvador Perez (pulled muscle in right side) will likely be out until Tuesday when Kansas City opens a series in Toronto. He hurt himself taking a swing on Thursday.

Indians: OF Brandon Guyer aggravated a wrist injury that sidelined him for six weeks earlier this season. He'll undergo treatment and is expected to miss 5-to-7 days. ... OF Lonnie Chisenhall will also miss a week after aggravating a calf injury. ... OF Jason Kipnis got medical clearance to be activated Sunday and will play at least five innings in center field, marking his first time in the outfield since he was in the minors in 2009.

UP NEXT

Kluber pitched a five-hit shutout in his previous start and is 8-1 in his past nine starts. He'll face LHP Danny Duffy, who will make his first start since Aug. 22 after being on the disabled list with a sore elbow.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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