TORONTO -- The Indians' 14-game winning streak is alive and well. All it took was 19 innings and more than six hours to get there.
Cleveland set a franchise record for most consecutive wins after Carlos Santana ended a lengthy stalemate with Toronto on a solo home run in the 19th inning. That brought an end to an epic marathon that included a pair of position players pitching and Cleveland's previously scheduled starter for Saturday tossing five innings.
"I guess if you're going to set a record, you might as well do it the hard way," said Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer, who logged the final five innings for Cleveland. "I'm just really happy we came out on top. You don't want to play 19 innings and lose."
The Indians and Blue Jays had combined to toss 23 1/3 scoreless relief innings until Santana stepped to the plate in the top of the 19th inning. With middle infielder Darwin Barney in the game for Toronto, Santana sent a 3-2 pitch over the wall in right for his 17th home run of the season.
"The game was very important for us. I feel great," Santana said. "It was a long game. We had a couple opportunities -- the Blue Jays, too. But I'm happy, because we won the game."
The Indians' current winning streak is the longest in the American League since Oakland reeled off 20 wins in a row during the 2002 season. Cleveland previously had 13-game winning streaks in 1951 and '42, but the club broke new ground north of the border on Canada Day.
"What Trevor did was kind of above and beyond," Indians manager Terry Francona said. " You get so invested in a game like that, because you've shot everybody. It feels good to win. That's the kind of game where you wish you were playing at home, because you're one bad pitch, or one slip up, from going home with a loss. And that's a long day."
The loss went to Barney, who became the 10th position player in franchise history to take the mound for Toronto.
"They ask you to pitch, and you just try and throw strikes," Barney said. "It was unfortunate we were in that situation. Plenty of us had opportunities to finish the game off and get the hit, and we didn't, so it's our own fault we had to go out and pitch. Unfortunately, it didn't go our way today."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED The Superman:Kevin Pillar took a run away from the Indians and potentially saved the game at the time with a diving grab in the top of the 10th inning. Cleveland had runners on first and second with two outs in the inning when Jose Ramirez hit a sinking liner to left-center field. Pillar got a good jump on the ball and tracked it into the gap, where he dove headfirst to make the grab as the inning came to an end. That kept the game tied at 1.
"Those guys are going to be really big for us going down the stretch," Bauer said. "They proved it today. That's a [heck] of a job by them. They all stayed ready. They haven't had a whole ton of work. It's tough when you don't get to pitch a lot, to stay ready mentally and not check out. There wasn't a single guy down there that wasn't ready to pitch today."
Loaded and locked up: The Blue Jays loaded the bases against Tomlin in both the fourth and fifth innings. To escape the first jam, Tomlin induced a grounder from Justin Smoak. In the fifth, the pitcher intentionally walked Donaldson to load the bases with one out. He then struck out Devon Travis and generated a lineout to center from Michael Saunders, preserving Cleveland's 1-0 advantage.
Pitching in a pinch: The Blue Jays sent not one, but two position players to the mound on Friday, using Ryan Goins in the 18th inning and Barney in the 19th. Goins loaded up the bases with one out before inducing an inning-ending double play off the bat of Chris Gimenez. Barney suffered the loss, allowing the leadoff home run to Santana, before retiring the next three batters he faced. Goins and Barney became the ninth and 10th position players to pitch for the Blue Jays, and this marked the first time in franchise history the club used two position players to pitch in the same game. More >
"It was one of those situations where we just didn't want to extend anyone," said bench coach DeMarlo Hale, who took over for the ejected John Gibbons in the first inning. "Marco [Estrada], he's battling some tightness in his back, and he's pitching [Saturday]. We need him at full-strength, so we made the decision to go with Barney and Goins and [Bo] Schultz as far as we could."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With his performance on Friday, Tomlin built upon the strong showing of late by Cleveland's starting staff. Over the past 14 games, the Indians' rotation has a 1.83 ERA, a .174 opponents' average and a 0.85 WHIP in 103 innings. The starters have combined for 99 strikeouts, 62 hits allowed and 26 walks in that span.
The Blue Jays tied their longest game in franchise history with this 19-inning affair. Toronto previously played a 19-inning game against the Tigers on Aug. 10, 2014. The game vs. Detroit is the longest game in terms of time in franchise history at 6 hours 37 minutes compared to Saturday's 6 hours 13 minutes.
For Cleveland, the 19-inning marathon marked its longest game since Aug. 31, 1993, when the Indians lost to the Twins in 22 innings. This one also fell short of the longest game (6 hours, 36 minutes) in team history. That occurred on May 7, 1995, also against Minnesota.
"I'm being truthful when I say that I really don't get caught up in that. I like when we're playing good baseball, obviously. I think our guys pay attention to detail, which is good. When we lose, whenever we lose -- I hope we don't lose for a while -- but when we do, that's not going to change my outlook. I think we need to just show up every day and play the way we're playing, and we'll be OK. I've always felt that way." -- Francona, on the 14-game streak
"The character we have in here, the never-die, the never-give-up attitude, was awesome." -- Tomlin
SEE YOU LATER
Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and manager John Gibbons did not get to enjoy much of the Canada Day celebrations, as both were ejected in the bottom of the first inning by home-plate umpire Vic Carapazza. Encarnacion took exception to a called third strike during his first at-bat of the game and was quickly tossed after he exchanged words with Carapazza. Gibbons followed suit less than a minute later when he was ejected for the same reason. Catcher Russell Martin was tossed in the 13th for arguing with Carapazza after he struck out swinging. More >
The Blue Jays won their challenge in the bottom of the 14th inning on a potential inning-ending double-play ball off the bat of Pillar. Pillar was initially called out on the play, but acting manager Hale asked for a review. Replays concluded that Pillar had reached the bag prior to the throw and the call was overturned.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: The red-hot Tribe planned on handing the ball to right-hander Bauer for Saturday's 1:07 p.m. ET game in Toronto, but the starter was called out of the bullpen when Friday's game reached the 15th inning. Cleveland's starter for Saturday is to be determined in the wake of the extra-inning affair.
Blue Jays: Right-hander Marco Estrada (5-3, 2.81) will take the mound when the Blue Jays continue their four-game series against the Indians on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre. Estrada has pitched at least six innings and allowed five hits or fewer in 12 consecutive starts, which is a Major League record.