The Cleveland Indians became the first American League team to win 21 consecutive games Wednesday, as a 5-3 victory against the Detroit Tigers completed a series sweep. The Indians’ victory snapped a tie with the Oakland Athletics, who won 20 consecutive games in 2002.
Whether the Indians, now tied with the 1935 Chicago Cubs of the National League with 21 straight wins, go for the major-league record Thursday when they host the Kansas City Royals depends on whether you believe in asterisks.
A Giant asterisk.
The New York Giants were unbeaten in 26 games during the 1916 season, but there was a tie game sandwiched in the middle of the steak. The Giants won 12 straight games, played a 1-1 tie and then won 14 in a row.
The official record keeper of Major League Baseball still recognizes the Giants’ streak
"A tie was never an acceptable result of a baseball game," Steve Hirdt, executive vice president at the Elias Sports Bureau, told ABC News. "If one happened because of darkness or rain or some certain circumstance, the game was played over.
"The Giants' 26-game winning streak has existed since the beginning of time," Hirdt told ABC News. "I do not know why certain people are looking at the 21 now and holding that up as the record or alternately trying to parse language so that they can somehow exclude the 26.
"It's the longest winning streak, it's the record for most consecutive wins, etc., because a tie game breaks neither a winning streak or losing streak for a team because it always gets replayed unless the season ends first."
Some media outlets refused to split hairs. Fox Sports tweeted "The @Indians tie the MLB record for most consecutive games with a win."
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports tweeted his agreement with Fox Sports, posting that "Unbeaten ≠ winning streak."
Not quite sure how anyone can say the 1916 Giants hold the record for consecutive wins. They had a tie in there. Unbeaten ≠ winning streak.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) September 13, 2017
The official Twitter account of Major League Baseball was vague enough to satisfy both sides:
History has some company. pic.twitter.com/0otSpU7dbO— MLB (@MLB) September 13, 2017
Jay Bruce hit a three-run homer off Buck Farmer (4-3), and Mike Clevinger (10-5) won his fourth straight start for Cleveland.