CHICAGO -- Winning 14 straight was so enjoyable for the Indians during the 2016 season that they decided to revisit such a run in '17.
Carlos Carrasco, the man they call "Cookie," went the distance and Cleveland matched its franchise-record winning streak with No. 14, and its third straight over the White Sox, claiming a 5-1 victory at Guaranteed Rate Field on Wednesday night. The American League Central leader also reduced its magic number to clinch the division to 13.
The Cubs were the last team to have winning streaks of at least 14 games in consecutive years, winning 21 in a row during September 1935, before winning 15 straight in June 1936. Cleveland has scored first in all 14 games during the winning streak, outscoring its opponents 47-9 over the first three innings as part of this run.
"That shows what kind of team we are and how we're playing baseball right now," Indians catcher Roberto Perez said. "We're just having fun out there and competing. We're not backing down, and it's fun when guys are grinding out at-bats, getting on base and taking advantage of opportunities."
Carrasco almost single-handedly made it possible for the Indians' 14th straight. He retired the first 12 White Sox hitters before giving up Avisail Garcia's single to center leading off the fifth. Kevan Smith added a leadoff single in the sixth, but double plays following both hits allowed Carrasco to face the minimum until Adam Engel homered to right-center with two outs in the ninth. The righty fanned nine without issuing a walk, throwing 76 of his 97 pitches for strikes.
"Carrasco was ... my goodness," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I mean, you talk about throwing strikes and quality pitches. That was really impressive. I don't know if he threw maybe 20 balls the whole game. That's pretty impressive."
"He was really, really good," said White Sox manager Rick Renteria. "Obviously a good fastball. Offspeed, secondary pitches were working very well. His ball had a lot of action today. Gotta tip your cap. Kind of a moral victory for Engel to get a hold of the fastball and hit it out of the ballpark."
Reynaldo Lopez took the loss for Chicago, but he certainly deserved a better fate. The right-hander allowed one earned run over six innings, but that easily could have been unearned with plays by Nicky Delmonico in left and Alen Hanson at second being ruled hits instead of errors. Lopez struck out two and walked two against the team with the second-best record in the AL.
"They're very good," Renteria said. "Very balanced and their ability --- right now they're armed even a little more with the callups. So they have quite a bit of pieces to be able to move around. But just in general they're an excellent Major League baseball team, proving why they're one of the best teams in baseball."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Santana blast:Carlos Santana has been rolling since the All-Star break, and he added some insurance to the Indians' 1-0 lead in the eighth by taking White Sox reliever Danny Farquhar deep for a two-run homer. Santana's 13th homer since the break and 23rd on the season traveled 425 feet at a rate of 106.3 mph off the bat, according to Statcast™.
"I'm happy, especially with my team winning," said Santana, who went 3-for-4 with the two RBIs and two runs scored. "I'm trying to have fun with my time, have fun with my game and trying to focus. It's been great for me."
Triumphant return: Delmonico made his presence felt in his return from the disabled list by taking away at least extra bases from Francisco Lindor leading off the seventh. Lindor lofted a pitch from Gregory Infante deep to left, but Delmonico's leaping grab at the wall kept the score at 1-0.
"All in all, just in general, as much as [Lopez] threw well, the game just didn't look very clean. This is one of those where we can all agree it just didn't look right." -- Renteria on his team's two-error off night
"I wanted the shutout. But Cookie [Carrasco] was awesome tonight. They got three base hits with the homer, but right after those two base hits, we got a double play. He made pitches when he needed to and got himself out of trouble." -- Perez, on Engel's homer spoiling Carrasco's shutout
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With his fifth-inning single off Lopez, Indians designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion extended his streak of consecutive games in which he's reached base safely to 29 games. That's the longest active streak in the Majors.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Reigning American League Pitcher of the Month Corey Kluber (14-4, 2.56 ERA) will make the 8:10 p.m. ET start in the finale of a four-game set against the White Sox on Thursday. Kluber leads the AL in starting pitcher ERA and opponents' batting average.
White Sox:Carlos Rodon (2-5, 4.27) is scheduled to make his 13th start of the season in Thursday night's 7:10 p.m. CT series finale with the Indians. Rodon has gone 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA with seven walks and 45 strikeouts over his last seven starts and 45 innings pitched.