Just a little more than a month ago, Jay Bruce was in New York sinking with the Mets as a season that began with promise and a richness of pitching was undermined by injuries.
The plunge was dramatic. So was the rise.
A trade rescued Bruce and dropped him in Cleveland, where he made history on Wednesday.
“I pretty much went from the least fun situation in baseball to the most fun,” he said.
Bruce hit a three-run homer in the first inning as the Indians set the AL record with their 21st straight win, a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers that pushed Cleveland closer to another division title and within reach of a 101-year mark that has come under scrutiny because of a peculiarity.
Unbeaten and nearly unchallenged for three weeks, the Indians surpassed the “Moneyball” 2002 Oakland Athletics for the league record and tied the 1935 Chicago Cubs for the second longest streak since 1900.
The only team to win more consecutive games was the 1916 New York Giants, who won 12 in a row, played a tie that was ended by rain and replayed, and then won 14 more.
Despite the tie, the Giants’ streak is acknowledged as the record by Elias Sports Bureau, Major League’s Baseball’s statistical watchdog. The flaw in the record has perturbed some fans. Not the Indians.