CLEVELAND — On the road or on their home turf, the Cleveland Indians won’t lose.

Their winning streak – now at a sweet 16 – rolls on.

Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run homer in the first inning and the Indians won their 16th straight, extending the best streak in franchise history – and the longest in the majors in 15 years – by beating the Baltimore Orioles 5-0 Friday night.

Encarnacion’s shot to straightaway center easily cleared the wall and landed in some trees next to Heritage Park, the team’s hallowed area where past Cleveland stars and teams are immortalized.

These 2017 Indians are making a case for their inclusion.

“We’re having a lot of fun here,” said Mike Clevinger (9-5), who allowed just three hits in six innings.

Cleveland’s string is the longest in the majors since the Oakland Athletics won 20 straight in 2002. The Indians, who have only trailed for two of 144 innings during the streak, are now five wins from matching the longest winning streak in major league history, 21 by the 1935 Chicago Cubs.

The 1916 New York Giants had a string of 26 wins, but that run included a tie.

Not only have the Indians not lost since Aug. 23, the defending AL champions have trailed only twice in 144 innings during the 16-game span and have outscored their opponents 114-28.

“They’re playing pretty good baseball,” Indians Manager Terry Francona said in a classic understatement. “That’s a really good lineup that our guys kept off the board.”

The Orioles were the latest team to run into the Indians and managed just four hits in the opener of a 10-day trip. Baltimore began the day two games back in the nine-team, wild-card scramble.

“They’re leading the league in starting pitching and relief pitching, so you know that runs are going to come at a premium,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “They played good defense and pitched well. That’s a good combination.”

Clevinger (9-5) improved his chances to pitch in the postseason with six strong innings as AL Central leaders became just the third team in the expansion era – since 1961 – to win 16 straight in a season, joining the 2002 A’s and Kansas City Royals, who also won 16 in a row.

“You try not to think too much about the streak,” Clevinger said. “Your eyes are still set on the same goals that we first started out with, but it gives it more of a playoff atmosphere — at least in the stands. You can definitely see the energy and feel the energy around the crowd and it kind of gave it that October feeling.”

Encarnacion hit his 34th home run, connecting off Wade Miley (8-12) and that was plenty for Clevinger, who had his third straight six-inning scoreless outing.

He’s gone 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA in his last three starts, and with Danny Salazar struggling, the 26-year-old Clevinger could factor heavily into Cleveland’s playoff pitching plans as the club tries to get back to the World Series.

TWINS 8, ROYALS 5: Eddie Rosario homered and drove in four runs, helping visiting Minnesota.

RANGERS 11, YANKEES 5: Martin Perez won his seventh straight start after the playoff-hopeful Rangers rallied from an early four-run deficit to beat visiting New York Yankees.

Elvis Andrus had three hits, including the tie-breaking two-run single in the fifth that put the Rangers up 7-5.

TIGERS 5, BLUE JAYS 4: Jeimer Candelario helped turn Detroit’s first triple play in 16 years, Nicholas Castellanos slugged his third career grand slam and the Tigers won at Toronto.

With runners at first and second, third baseman Candelario backhanded Kevin Pillar’s grounder and stepped on third base before throwing the ball to second. Second baseman Ian Kinsler made a quick turn there, and his throw to first narrowly beat Pillar for the Tigers’ first triple play since Aug. 1, 2001.

Castellanos hit his slam off Marcus Stroman (11-7) in the third inning, and Kinsler added a solo shot in the seventh.

Tigers right-hander Buck Farmer (4-2) allowed two runs, one earned, in five innings. Shane Greene got his seventh save.


METS 5, REDS 1: Jose Reyes homered twice, Seth Lugo pitched six shutout innings and host New York won its third straight.

Travis Taijeron got the Mets started when the 28-year-old rookie led off the second with his first major league home run. New York, which leads the National League in homers, has won 17 of its last 19 games against the Reds – including eight straight at Citi Field.

Reyes lined rookie starter Amir Garrett’s 0-2 slider into the left-field seats in the fifth, scoring Lugo and giving New York a 4-0 lead. Reyes also clubbed a solo shot in the third, becoming the 13th player in franchise history to hit 100 homers in a Mets uniform.

Lugo (6-4) allowed four hits, struck out four and walked one en route to his first win since July 25.

Cincinnati loaded the bases in the ninth, but closer A.J. Ramos permitted just pinch-hitter Zack Cozart’s sacrifice fly.

CARDINALS 4, PIRATES 1: Luke Weaver pitched shutout ball into the sixth inning and also drove in a run to help St. Louis Cardinals win at home.

BRAVES 7, MARLINS 1: Atlanta’s Jose Urena allowed only three hits in 61/3 innings and added his first career RBI to stop visiting Miami’s five-game skid.

BREWERS 2, CUBS 0: Ryan Braun hit his 300th homer, Jimmy Nelson combined with three relievers on a five-hitter, and Milwaukee won at Chicago.

NATIONALS 11, PHILLIES 10: Michael A. Taylor raced for an inside-the-park grand slam when center fielder Odubel Herrera misplayed his line drive, and Washington moved closer to a second straight NL East title by winning at home.


GIANTS 9, WHITE SOX 2: Pablo Sandoval snapped his 0-for-38 skid with a three-run homer, Matt Moore pitched effectively into the seventh inning and San Francisco won at Chicago.