The Wadsworth Grizzlies will host the Stow Bulldogs on Friday in Week 5. Beacon Journal high school writer Michael Beaven caught up with the coaches and players from both teams to get a behind-the-scenes look before the big matchup.

Take a look a the prediction for this game in this week’s Gridlocks.

This is the last of five installments that break the Akron Marathon course into its five Team Relay segments. Today: Everything you could possibly want to know about the 4.9 miles that make up Relay Leg No. 5.

Deputy Metro Editor Joe Thomas and I (reporter Paula Schleis) did a video driving tour of all the relay segments and chatted about what you might find, the history of the neighborhoods and some fun facts about the Akron Marathon. Here’s our trip through Relay Leg No. 5:

RACE DAY PARKING DIRECTIONS

You’re leg begins in West Akron at Hardesty Park, but ends in downtown Akron. So you’ll want to park downtown and take the shuttle out to the start of your relay exchange zone.

Your recommended parking spot is at Akron Children’s Hospital – the parking deck on Bowery, which is directly behind Canal Park. To get there, take I-77/I-76. (If you’re traveling west, take Exit 21c toward OH 59 E/Dart Ave and turn right onto Boulevard St. If you’re traveling east, take Exit 21B toward Lakeshore Blvd/Bowery St. and turn left on Boulevard St.) In both cases, then turn left onto Dart, right onto Opportunity, right on Cedar, left on Bowery. Follow event parking signs for your bib color. Relay team bibs are pink.

This area is away from the closed roads, so you’ll be able to come in later than other relay legs, which is good since you could be starting hours after your first teammate crosses the starting line at 7 a.m. Just don’t come too late! Remember to leave enough time for the shuttle to take you to Hardesty Park.

The shuttle buses are on Exchange near Main Street. When you leave the Bowery parking deck, turn left to Exchange, then turn left toward Main. The shuttles will be running from 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.

(If you don’t mind a long day, feel free to come when the race starts. May relay team members running the late legs enjoy being early spectators, catching the action as the runners pass through downtown three times before heading west.)

GEAR CHECK

Your gear bag (the clear plastic bag the Akron Marathon gave you during packet pickup Friday to hold unbreakable items you want available after your race) can be dropped off when you disembark your shuttle bus at Hardesty Park, on Alton Street right before the corrals.

There will be a FedEx truck waiting to transport the gear bags back downtown. A truck will leave Alton at 10:30 a.m. and 11:50 p.m., so if you are checking a bag, make sure you drop it off before one of these times.

To pick up your gear bag, after you finish your leg inside Canal Park, you’ll need to leave the park and cross the street from the main entrance. There – at Main and Buchtel – you’ll see the Gear Check flags to retrieve your bag.

RELAY HAND-OFF

Each member of your relay team has his or her own bib, but all the numbers are the same. Actually, you’ll have two bibs – one for the front of your shirt, and one for the back of your shirt. Know your number.

With some 1,200 Relay Leg 4 participants waiting in various corrals, you could be up to a tenth of a mile from the timing mat that your teammate will cross. There will be up to 40 volunteers trying to help your teammate find you quickly, and bib numbers will be announced as they approach. If you know your bib number, you will more likely recognize it when it is called.

When your teammate reaches you, they will hand you a slap bracelet. Put it on and get going!

For competitive teams hoping to actually win the event, the slap bracelet is vital. But for those of us not expecting to stand in the winner’s circle, if for some reason you drop or lose your bracelet on the course, don’t panic. Just carry on.

Side note: The marathon doesn’t ask what relay leg you are running, so your team has the option of switching things around until the start of the race. The timing device on your bib will tell race officials which leg you ran.

SAG WAGON

The full marathon course is officially open for 6 hours. There is a “Support and Gear” vehicle that brings up the rear. When it passes, roads behind it are reopened and course support such as fluid stations are removed. This vehicle will follow the first half of the marathon course at a pace of about 16 minutes, but speeds up to a pace of under a 15-minute mile after Mile 12. If you and your team have averaged a pace faster than a 15-minute mile, you probably won’t even know it’s there.

If the wagon passes you up, however, and you are well enough to continue, just move to the sidewalk and keep going. From an official perspective, the race is over after 6 hours. But the Akron Marathon staff has an unofficial tradition of staying at the finish line as long as possible to give latecomers the chance to complete the race and collect their medal.

If you are injured or unable to continue, the vehicle will offer you a lift. Leg 5 members are responsible for collecting the medals at the finish line for all five teammates. You can either return to Canal Park to collect and distribute the medals, or contact a member of your team to alert them that you can’t return, in which case they will need to reach out to a race official to get the medals.

Note to our Blue Line Beginners: Our teams are comprised of runners as well as walkers below the 16-minute pace. It is conceivable that the SAG vehicle will pass a walking teammate on one leg, then be passed by a running teammate on the next leg. Regardless on what side of the wagon you find yourself on, just keep following the Blue Line. We are anticipating all of our BLB teams will take the full 6 hours to finish the full marathon course, so don’t let this discourage or stop you.

THE COURSE

Relay Leg No. 5 starts at Hardesty Park, runs up Garman, down Portage Path, then back to downtown via West Market Street, finishing at Canal Park.

This segment features a short but very steep incline known as “Heart Rate Hill.” There is also a hill on Portage Path. But overall, there is a lot of downhill on this 4.9-mile segment, including the long, steady dip along Market.

Race Director Brian Polen had some tips for runners tackling Heart Rate Hill and Portage Path:

FULL MAP TO RELAY LEG 5

COURSE SUPPORT AND HERO ZONES

* You’ll find mile markers at each mile. Clocks and kilometer markers are also located at every 5k to help you judge your pace, although remember those clocks started when the first runner crossed the starting line. If you didn’t cross the line for, say, another 10 minutes, you’ll need to deduct that from the time you see on the clock.

Relay Leg 5 begins at Mile 21.3.

* You’ll find a medical aid station near mile 22.6, 24.7 and inside Canal Park.

* There are fluid stations and portable restrooms at miles 22, 23.3, 24.1 and 25.2.

* You will see a gel station at Mile 23 with Swedish Fish, Twizzlers, pretzels and gel shots. These are for runners doing the full marathon to power them to the finish line.

* Akron Children’s Hospital, which sponsors the Akron Marathon Race Series, will feature “super hero” patients at special Hero Zones along the course. For Relay Leg No. 5, you’ll encounter sisters Bella and Sophia Bevilacqua. Exchange high fives with them as you pass by!

COURSE ENTERTAINMENT

Watch for the following entertainment along the route:

* Residents on Beauparc have registered as a “Block Party”, so you should see t-shirt-coordinated spectators shaking cowbells and cheering on runners.

* Garman is also famous for its block parties and resident participation.

* The band G Soundz will be near the Federal Building at the corner of Main and Market.

FINISHER FESTIVAL

You’ll find finisher fluids right after you finish your leg inside the stadium, so take a moment to hydrate. Then proceed to pick up the five medals, which you will need to distribute to your team.

Make plans with your team now as to where to meet them after the race to give them their medals.

Meanwhile, your bib tickets will treat you to pizza, a snack bag and beverages.

Tomorrow, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this Friday’s Expo and packet pickup day!

— Paula

This is the fourth of five installments that break the Akron Marathon course into its five Team Relay segments. Today: Everything you could possibly want to know about the 4 miles that make up Relay Leg No. 4.

Deputy Metro Editor Joe Thomas and I (reporter Paula Schleis) did a video driving tour of all the relay segments and chatted about what you might find, the history of the neighborhoods and some fun facts about the Akron Marathon. Here’s our trip through Relay Leg No. 4:

RACE DAY PARKING DIRECTIONS

You’re entire leg takes place in West Akron, beginning at Firestone High School on Fairfax Road and ending at Hardesty Park.

You are free to find your own parking in that neighborhood if you like. Also, depending on the pace of your teammates, you can arrive at your relay exchange zone well after the bell signals the start of the race at 7 a.m. downtown. If you know the pace of the three teammates that come before you, you can make a pretty good guess at when you need to be in your Relay Exchange Zone 4 corral and awaiting No. 3’s arrival. But don’t cut this close. If you are trying to find your own parking, you may have to walk quite a bit. The last thing you want is for your teammate to cross the timing mat and be looking for you while you’re still trying to park.

Also, keep in mind there are about 1,200 other people doing this leg of the relay (not to mention spectators and volunteers in the area) and if others are looking for parking, spots could be scarce.

One way to avoid all this risk is to park downtown with everyone else and take a shuttle to your relay zone. If you choose to do this, your recommended parking is at Opportunity Parking Deck, just south of downtown. Plan to be parked there by 7 a.m. as road closures will be taking place about this time.

To get to Opportunity Parking Deck, take I-77/-I76 to Main/Broadway/Downtown (If you are headed east, you will merge with one-way South Street. Follow South to the second light. At that point, all traffic MUST turn left onto Broadway, which is a one-way street. If you are headed west, this exit merges onto Broadway.) In either case, follow event parking signs for your bib color. Relay team bibs are pink.

SHUTTLE

When you leave Opportunity Parking Deck onto High Street, turn right and walk downtown. When you reach Exchange Street, turn left and go past Main Street to find the shuttle buses.

The shuttles will run to Firestone High School from 7:15 to 9:30 a.m. Since you have time, feel free to hang about and watch the start of the race and cheer the runners on as they pass through various downtown Akron points.

Just make sure you leave plenty of time for your shuttle to get you to Firestone High School and also to use the services of…

GEAR CHECK

Your gear bag (the clear plastic bag the Akron Marathon gave you during packet pickup Friday to hold unbreakable items you want available after your race) can be dropped off on Rampart right outside Firestone High School.

There will be FedEx truck waiting to transport the gear bags back downtown to the main Gear Check location at the corner of Main and Buchtel, right across the street from the main entrance of Canal Park. A truck will leave at 10:15 a.m. and another at 11 a.m. If you are checking a bag, make sure you drop it off before one of these times.

To find the Gear Check location downtown from your shuttle bus, walk along Exchange (where the bus drops you off) to Main, then turn left and walk to Buchtel. Look for the Gear Check flags.

RELAY HAND-OFF

Each member of your relay team has his or her own bib, but all the numbers are the same. Actually, you’ll have two bibs – one for the front of your shirt, and one for the back of your shirt. Know your number.

With some 1,200 Relay Leg 4 participants waiting in various corrals, you could be up to a tenth of a mile from the timing mat that your teammate will cross. There will be up to 40 volunteers trying to help your teammate find you quickly, and bib numbers will be announced as they approach. If you know your bib number, you will more likely recognize it when it is called.

When your teammate reaches you, they will hand you a slap bracelet. Put it on and get going!

As you finish your own relay segment near the exchange zone for Relay Leg 5, you will see color-coded signs separating you from the marathon runners. Follow the pink sign indicating the side of the road for relay team members.

This is important: When you cross the timing mat at the relay area, do NOT stop running. Again, your teammate may still be quite a distance from you. Keep jogging while looking for the sign with the range that includes your bib number. There will also be volunteers looking at your bib number and trying to match you up quickly. When you find your teammate, hand off the slap bracelet.

For competitive teams hoping to actually win the event, the slap bracelet is vital. But for those of us not expecting to stand in the winner’s circle, if for some reason you drop or lose your bracelet on the course, don’t panic. Just carry on!

Side note: The marathon doesn’t ask what relay leg you are running, so your team has the option of switching things around until the start of the race. The timing device on your bib will tell race officials which leg you ran.

SAG WAGON

The full marathon course is officially open for 6 hours. There is a “Support and Gear” vehicle that brings up the rear. When it passes, roads behind it are reopened and course support such as fluid stations are removed. This vehicle will follow the first half of the marathon course at a pace of about 16 minutes, but speeds up to a pace of under a 15-minute mile after Mile 12. If you and your team have averaged a pace faster than a 15-minute mile, you probably won’t even know it’s there.

If the wagon passes you up, however, and you are well enough to continue, just move to the sidewalk and keep going. From an official perspective, the race is over after 6 hours. But the Akron Marathon staff has an unofficial tradition of staying at the finish line as long as possible to give latecomers the chance to complete the race and collect their medal.

If you are injured or unable to continue, the vehicle will offer you a lift. In that case, if you have a way of communicating with your teammate on the next leg, notify them that you have withdrawn. That teammate should then leave their relay zone and continue the race. If you do not have a way of contacting your teammate, notify a race official so they can contact the next relay zone and try to get word to your teammate.

Note to our Blue Line Beginners: Our teams are comprised of runners as well as walkers below the 16-minute pace. It is conceivable that the SAG vehicle will pass a walking teammate on one leg, then be passed by a running teammate on the next leg. Regardless on what side of the wagon you find yourself on, just keep following the Blue Line. We are anticipating all of our BLB teams will take the full 6 hours to finish the full marathon course, so don’t let this discourage or stop you.

THE COURSE

Relay Leg No. 4 runs through the residential area of West Akron, from Firestone High school to Hawkins and then Thurmont, then through flat, shady neighborhoods that include Goodhue, Overwood and Wiltshire. The course then returns to Hawkins before turning toward Hardesty Park and ending there at Relay Exchange Zone 5.

This segment of the course is considered the easiest of all the relay legs, not only because it’s the shortest, but because it has a mostly level surface.

FULL MAP TO RELAY LEG 4

COURSE SUPPORT AND HERO ZONES

* You’ll find mile markers at each mile. Clocks and kilometer markers are also located at every 5k to help you judge your pace, although remember those clocks started when the first runner crossed the starting line. If you didn’t cross the line for, say, another 10 minutes, you’ll need to deduct that from the time you see on the clock.

Relay Leg 4 begins at Mile 17.3.

* You’ll find a medical aid station near mile 17.5 and 20.

* There are fluid stations and portable restrooms at miles 18.5 and 20.4.

* Akron Children’s Hospital, which sponsors the Akron Marathon Race Series, will feature “super hero” patients at special Hero Zones along the course. For Relay Leg No. 4, you’ll encounter Madduz Maple at Mile 17.5 and Jack Lehman at Mile 21. Say hi to Maddux and Jack as you pass by!

COURSE ENTERTAINMENT

Watch for the following entertainment along the route:

* Residents on Fairfax have registered as a “Block Party”, so you should see t-shirt-coordinated spectators shaking cowbells and cheering on runners.

* The band Bound will be playing along Thurmont.

* The homeowners on Overwood are famed for the block parties they throw and the effort they make to motivate runners through this late-mile segment.

* On Wiltshire, you’ll encounter the Bubble Man, known for his annual tradition of creating bubbles for participants to run through.

SHUTTLE AND FINISHER FESTIVAL

When you finish your 4-mile leg at Hardesty Park and the Relay Exchange Zone 5, grab some finisher fluids and take a moment to hydrate. Then, if you took the shuttle bus to Firestone High School, its time to take it back downtown. Find the shuttles at the corner of Alt and Dartmouth, one block past the exchange zone. They will be operating until 12:15 p.m.

The shuttle will take you back to the corner of Main and Exchange. Walk down Exchange and turn left onto Main. Don’t forget to stop and pick up your gear bag at Main and Buchtel before entering Canal Park, which is right across the street.

Enter the stadium using the Diamond Boardwalk entrance. This is located just south of the main entrance. You must be wearing a bib to enter here, and you CANNOT get to the Finisher Festival from the main entrance, so for now you’ll need to stay separated from any supporters waiting for you.

At the Finisher Festival, your bib tickets will treat you to pizza, a snack bag and beverages.

You will not pick up your medal yet. All five medals will be given to your Relay Leg No. 5 teammate to pass out, so wait for him/her to arrive!

Come back tomorrow for everything you could possibly want to know about Relay Leg 5.

CLEVELAND: The streak is dead.

For the first time since Aug. 23, baseball’s hottest team didn’t have enough, and the Indians fell to the Kansas City Royals 4-3 Friday night at Progressive Field.

The loss ended the Indians’ record winning streak at 22 games — the longest in the major leagues in 100 years and the longest ever in the American League. Only the 1916 New York Giants, who won 26 in a row, had a longer streak.

After the final out, the Indians received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd in a show of appreciation. Indians players responded by pouring out of the dugout and applauding the support from the home fans. Progressive Field had a playoff-like atmosphere the last few days as the collective baseball world turned its eye to Cleveland, and Indians fans became caught up with the historic streak.

During the streak, the Indians (91-57) essentially put away the rest of the division, overtook the Houston Astros in the race for home-field advantage and officially clinched a spot in the postseason. The Indians went more than three weeks without a loss and won by an average of nearly five runs per game in what was one of the greatest streaks in baseball history.

The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Francisco Lindor doubled off the wall — as he did in the ninth inning of Thursday’s game that led to their wild comeback — and later came around on a sacrifice fly by Edwin Encarnacion against Royals starting pitcher Jason Vargas.

Two batters into the second, the Royals (73-74) answered. With Trevor Bauer on the mound, Alcides Escobar hit a solo home run to left field to tie it. It was the beginning of a night in which Bauer (16-9) wasn’t quite as sharp as he had been in arguably the best stretch of his career during the streak.

Jose Ramirez — the hottest hitter in the AL the last three weeks — then belted a two-run home run to left field, putting the Indians back on top 3-1. It was his 27th home run of the season and his 83rd extra-base hit, which leads the AL.

From there, in an odd sight for Indians fans in the wake of the streak, the Royals came back and then overtook the Indians. Former Indians outfielder Brandon Moss drove a solo home run over the center-field wall to make it 3-2 in the fourth. An inning later, Lorenzo Cain doubled and came around on Eric Hosmer’s single to left to tie the score at 3-all.

The Royals untied it in the sixth. Alex Gordon singled with one out to end Bauer’s night in favor of reliever Joe Smith. After a strikeout and a single, Cain sent a ball back up the middle to score Gordon in what turned out to be the decisive hit to end the streak.

The Indians couldn’t come up with the timely hit in the ninth against Royals reliever Mike Minor. Yandy Diaz singled to put the tying run on base, but Lindor struck out to end the game.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at [email protected]. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ.

CLEVELAND: Among the five position players in the American League to record an fWAR of at least 5.0 this season, two of them happen to play in the Indians’ infield. It’s the same two who have reached white-hot status in the last three weeks, spurring on the Indians’ offense during their historic winning streak.

Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor have been near the top of the leaderboard in several offensive categories the past few weeks, not to mention being among the AL’s most valuable players for the season.

Ramirez entered Friday’s game fourth among position players in the AL with 5.6 fWAR. Lindor is fifth with 5.2. And they have been at their best as the Indians have chased down history.

Entering Friday, Lindor was hitting .360 with a 1.195 OPS, nine home runs and 20 RBI during the Indians’ 22-game winning streak. Ramirez has hit .423 with a 1.405 OPS in 18 games.

They were also the two that played major roles in saving the streak during Thursday night’s 3-2 come-from-behind, walk-off win in 10 innings. The Indians were down to their last strike in the ninth before Lindor laced an RBI double off the left-field wall to tie it 2-2.

“It was kind of like relief,” Josh Tomlin said of seeing Lindor at the plate in that situation. “It was just, right man right spot, I guess. When he came up, you just had this feeling that the type of year that he’s having and the type of player that he is, he’s going to put together a competitive at-bat and do everything he can to get that run in and that’s what he did.”

In the 10th, Ramirez drove a ball to center field, took a big turn toward second base and as soon as he saw the throw was coming in a bit off-line, gunned it to second to stretch it into a double, his 50th of the season. He later scored the winning run on Jay Bruce’s double to right field. Ramirez has been part of the heart and soul of the streak and, really, this season.

“He is the energy you want to have when you play the game,” Bruce said of Ramirez. “And there are certain guys who have that. He doesn’t care who’s on the mound. He doesn’t care who we’re playing. He doesn’t care if he’s 0-for-20 or if he’s 20-for-20. He’s bringing the same thing every single time. And it’s been awesome to watch.”

Injury updates

According to Indians manager Terry Francona, it still appears likely that Jason Kipnis will be able to return Sunday. The decision has been between Sunday and Tuesday, after the off-day on Monday. All week, Kipnis has been preparing to see how he takes to center field in an effort to keep his bat in the lineup.

“I think the medical people still need to sign off on him playing Sunday, but I think everything points towards that,” Francona said. “He’s done everything in his power. He’s answered everything they’ve thrown at him, he has done really well so I’ll betcha you’ll see him Sunday.”

Francona added that Kipnis could play five innings Sunday, as the Indians ease him back into the lineup.

Lonnie Chisehall left Thursday’s game for precautionary reasons after he experienced tightness in his right calf. Earlier this season, Chisenhall missed more than a month with a right calf injury. Chisenhall felt something in the calf stretching prior to the game, according to Francona, and later decided to follow the cautious route. The expectation is that he will be day-to-day after being further evaluated by the medical team.

Andrew Miller returned from the disabled list Thursday night and pitched an inning. He also felt fine on Friday, a good sign as he returns from his second trip to the DL due to patellar tendonitis in his right knee. The expectation, according to Francona, is that he will next pitch on Sunday.

Ratings boost

Thursday night’s 3-2 walk-off win, No. 22 in the streak, drew a 20.44 HH rating on Sports­Time Ohio, according to Nielsen. That’s the highest-rated Indians game in the network’s history and the equivalent of 306,000 homes.

The previous high came on Opening Day of this season, which drew a 19.58. Viewership is up 55 percent compared to this stretch in September of last season.

Attendance has also seen an uptick this homestand. Wednesday’s noon game, a tough draw for baseball teams with kids back in school, drew 29,346 fans. Thursday’s game brought in more than 30,000. Friday’s game was a sellout, and Saturday’s has already sold out.

“That was pretty special [Thursday] night,” Francona said. “It was quite an atmosphere for a middle-of-September game and I think everybody enjoyed it. We don’t always lead the league in attendance, but the people that come, man, they get into it. They’re good. We’ve had some huge walk-ups the last couple days. And it’s noticeable. And it’s appreciated.”

Ryan Lewis can be reached at [email protected]. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ.

CLEVELAND: The Indians had been without Andrew Miller for the entirety of their 21-game winning streak entering Thursday night, but it didn’t mean they were without an effective lefty in the bullpen.

Miller was activated off the 10-day disabled list on Thursday. He was placed there on Aug. 22, just before the streak started, with patellar tendinitis in his right knee, an injury he had aggravated.

Miller had already come back once from that injury this season, only to have to leave his second appearance. Miller said he feels stronger now than he did the first time he returned to the roster.

“I feel like I’m more prepared to take on a heavier load,” Miller said. “I think that’s important. I think last time we didn’t try to really monitor that kind of stuff and it was going to be tough. So hopefully it was a blessing in disguise that now they’ve got it more taken care of and understand it better and I’ll be more prepared for a heavier workload.”

The first time, Miller returned when he reached a point at which the club felt it could monitor his knee while he was pitching in games. This time, their hope is that they have it completely figured out prior to his activation.

“I don’t think we ever felt he was 100 percent last time,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “That didn’t work. This time he seems [to be] in a much better place. The trainers feel differently.”

The plan is for Miller to pitch on a cautious schedule for a stretch, in order to ensure he’s healthy for the postseason, when his value as an elite reliever is highest.

The Indians have made it clear that, like in last year’s postseason, Miller will be used often. But, it might not be exactly to the same degree as it was in 2016, when he tossed 19⅓ innings for an Indians pitching staff that was depleted due to injuries.

“He threw a lot of pitches,” Francona said. “I don’t even know that I’d do that again. That bothered me at times. It wasn’t the goal to have him actually throw that much. … We’d love for him to be a huge weapon. I don’t think that it entails throwing that many pitches.”

In Miller’s absence, and along with the season-ending injury to Boone Logan, Tyler Olson has provided the Indians with a reliable left-hander, somewhat quietly. Entering Thursday, Olson had yet to give up an earned run, tossing 13⅔ scoreless innings and striking out 15 hitters across 21 appearances. According to the club, Olson’s 21 consecutive appearances without a run allowed to begin a season is tied for the seventh-longest stretch since 1913.

The key for Olson, who came to camp as a non-roster invitee and impressed the Indians’ coaching staff but didn’t make the Opening Day roster, has actually been throwing his fastball right down the middle of the plate. But, in effect, that’s the team trying to take advantage of the movement he has on that pitch.

This spring, he was aiming for the corners, with his stuff darting off the plate. The Indians had him work on throwing down the middle, and allowing the movement on his pitches to carry them to the corners.

“If he throws his fastball to the opposite arm side, it cuts, if he throws it arm side, it runs,” pitching coach Mickey Callaway said. “He can spin the ball. And he was more pitching toward the corners in the past. When you have that type of movement and that kind of stuff, you throw the ball right down the middle and it’ll take it to the corners.”

Olson has always trusted his stuff. He also had to trust throwing his fastball down the middle and simply allowing it to move out of the center of the zone and that is what took time.

“It was about trusting it wouldn’t be squared up by hitters,” Olson said. “That was the conversation we had in spring training, where I was throwing to a corner and then it was moving off the plate rather than just throwing and trusting that it’ll go to a corner.”

The Indians certainly welcomed Miller back with open arms. Olson, in the mean time, has made the most of the opportunity and has given the club an additional left-handed option.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at [email protected].

BEREA: This is not a misprint: The Browns are tied for first in the NFL in fewest rushing yards allowed.

It’s just one game, but it’s true.

Everyone points to the quarterback carousel and lack of continuity in the coaching ranks and front office when identifying the franchise’s chief problems since 1999, but an inability to consistently stop the run is high on the list, too.

The organization hopes its new defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, will be the difference this time around. So far, so good.

The Browns held the Pittsburgh Steelers to 35 yards on 17 carries (2.1 average) in a 21-18, season-opening loss. Two-time Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell rushed for 32 yards on 10 carries (3.2 average).

Now the Browns (0-1) are aiming to prove it wasn’t a fluke when they visit the Baltimore Ravens (1-0) on Sunday. Bell didn’t participate in training camp because of a contract dispute, so Williams’ men must show their performance wasn’t simply the result of a rusty opponent.

“I am proud of our run defense,” defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah said Thursday. “We made a statement, and we have to keep making that statement every week.”

Ogbah is among the players who have stressed the defense is more aggressive under the guidance of Williams.

“Gregg, since day one, he came in talking about how we wanted to defend the run because last year we were terrible in stopping the run,” linebacker Chris Kirksey said, alluding to the Browns ranking 31st in the NFL against the run last season (142.7 yards allowed per game). “We made a special emphasis on doing that first, making that a priority because when you stop the run, that builds an attitude.

“Gregg came in, and he changed the culture, changed guys’ mindsets. The defense that he has us playing is aggressive and puts the guys in the best position to be in their gap, to make plays and hunt down the ball carrier. It is just all really a mindset.”

The Ravens rank third in the league with 157 rushing yards. Terrance West, drafted by the previous Browns regime in the third round in 2014, had 19 carries for 80 yards (4.2 average) and a touchdown in a 20-0 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Javorius Allen had 21 carries for 71 yards (3.4 average).

“[West] is running well,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “He and [Allen] had big games last week. Those guys rushed for 150-some yards. Their offensive line is where it starts. [Right guard] Marshal Yanda — go check that guy out. [Left tackle Ronnie] Stanley and the rest of those guys, they are playing well. They are playing physical, and they get after you. The backs run hard, they run tough and they run through tackles.”

The Browns want to neutralize the one-two punch of West and Allen.

“We want to force teams to pass the ball almost,” Kirksey said. “Once we eliminate the run, it allows us to do more and more and open up our defensive playbook. So that is definitely a confidence booster when you are able to eliminate guys from making big plays in the run game.”

Being a pro

Browns quarterback Cody Kessler started eight games last season as a rookie third-round pick, but he wasn’t even active last weekend in the opener with rookie DeShone Kizer starting and Kevin Hogan serving as the primary backup.

Jackson said Kessler has been “outstanding” despite the change of his status.

“He has been great for DeShone,” Jackson said. “When I am up here late at night, the guy who is with DeShone still is Cody. Cody has been through this, so Cody has been a really good mentor, per se, for DeShone. He has been great in practice. He has always been egging DeShone on to get the offense going, to get the rhythm going and to get the fire going.

“He has been a pro about it. I think Cody knows his day is coming at some point. He is not concerned about that. In respect to the decision we made, he understands. I think that is what being a good pro in the National Football League is. Now, me saying that, does he want to play? Oh, yes. Is he competitive? Does he want to be out there? No question he does, but I think he gets the role that he is in right now.”

Jackson is expected to reveal Friday the No. 2 quarterback against the Ravens.

Matchup to watch

Browns rookie tight end David Njoku expects several encounters Sunday with Ravens two-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker C.J. Mosley.

“You always want to go against one of the greats,” Njoku said. “It’s always exciting for that to happen.

“He’s really good at what he does, and I think we can shut him out of the game. So we’re going to try to do that.”

What Mosley does is make plays and intercept passes as well as anyone at his position. His four interceptions last season ranked second among linebackers, and he intercepted a pass from Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in the end zone during the opener.

“Besides going to actually make a play, usually good effort gets you a turnover, a lot of tipped balls,” Mosley said. “If you’re running to the ball, that ball can pop up in your hand, being in the right place at the right time.”

Mosley has 345 tackles, seven interceptions and seven sacks since the Ravens drafted him in the first round (17th overall) in 2014 out of Alabama. He’s one of four NFL defenders with at least 300 tackles, five interceptions and five sacks during that span.

“He is very instinctive, and I think he has tremendous ball skills,” Jackson said. “He has good length, he is long, he can run and he can cover, so he has all of the skills needed to play the position on top of being a physical player. He is a playmaker.”

Meanwhile, Mosley is focused on shutting down Browns running back Isaiah Crowell, who ripped off an 85-yard rushing touchdown in Week 2 last season against the Ravens.

“He’s definitely a big-play guy,” Mosley said. “He can break tackles, so we have to make sure to gang tackle.”

Extra points

• Told Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said the Browns are going to surprise a lot of people this season, Kirksey said he doesn’t want any sympathy. “People can say what they want to say or say good things or say, ‘Man, the Browns were almost there,’ ” he said. “I’m not really into all of that. At the end of the day, we need to win.”

• Right guard Kevin Zeitler returned to practice after undergoing a surgical procedure on his right thumb this week. Jackson said Zeitler is “ready to roll” against the Ravens. Left tackle Joe Thomas (knee) also returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday. Defensive tackle Danny Shelton (knee) was upgraded to a full participant after being limited.

• The Browns had the youngest team in the NFL on kickoff weekend with an average age of 24.17, according to data provided by the league. The Los Angeles Rams had the next-youngest roster with an average age of 25.11.

Nate Ulrich can be reached at [email protected]. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/abj.sports.

CLEVELAND: The Indians’ 21-game winning streak will go down in the record books as one of the best in baseball history, and it isn’t even over yet.

The Indians now own the longest winning streak in American League history, beating the 2002 Oakland A’s, who won 20 in a row. The New York Giants of 1916 won 26 consecutive games, recognized by Major League Baseball as the record, although it included a tie in the middle. The 1935 Chicago Cubs won 21 consecutive games as well.

The numbers put up by the Indians during the streak have been borderline absurd. Here are 21 of them, one for each game in the streak.

+104 The Indians’ run differential, which translates into a winning margin of 4.95 runs per game.

4 The total number of completed innings after which the Indians have trailed, a span of 189 innings.

68-13 The margin by which the Indians, who have scored first in 19 of the 21 games, have outscored opponents in the first three innings.

1.66 & 35 The average number of runs and the total number of runs the Indians have allowed.

1.57 The ERA of the Indians pitching staff (1.70 for the rotation, 1.26 for the bullpen).

21 & 2,124 The number of days it has taken the Indians (since Aug. 24) and the Browns (since Nov. 20, 2011) to accumulate 21 wins.

$1.1 million The amount you would have won had you bet $100 on the Indians winning 21 consecutive games.

6.6 The average number of runs the Indians have scored per game.

30/9/19/19 Francisco Lindor’s team-leading totals in hits, home runs, RBI and runs scored.

0.38 Mike Clevinger’s ERA while going 4-0 in four starts.

9.5 The number of games by which the Indians have increased their lead in the AL Central, going from a 4.5-game lead to a 14-game lead.

1.41 The ERA of Indians ace Corey Kluber, who has furthered his Cy Young campaign by going 4-0 with 35 strikeouts in 32 innings.

0.62 The ERA of Carlos Carrasco, who has been just as dominant with 34 strikeouts in four starts.

.378/.311 The batting averages of Indians catchers Roberto Perez and Yan Gomes, who have caught fire at the plate to provide an offensive surge.

18 The number of extra-base hits slugged by Jose Ramirez, who continues his campaign to be an MVP finalist.

16 The number of losses by the Los Angeles Dodgers, owners of the best record in baseball, during the Indians’ streak.

7.5 & 3.5 The number of games by which the Indians trailed the Houston Astros for home-field advantage in the American League when the streak began and the number by which they now lead the Astros.

7 The number of shutouts the Indians have pitched in the last 21 games.

20 The number of consecutive games in which the Indians have allowed four or fewer runs, the longest streak for the franchise in more than 100 years.

.357 The batting average of Yandy Diaz, who leads the club with six hits in hits with runners in scoring position.

4 The Indians’ magic number to clinch the division.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at [email protected]. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ.

CLEVELAND: The plan is for Andrew Miller to return to the bullpen on Thursday, but the club is set to be cautious with him — until October, that is.

Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list with patellar tendonitis in his right knee for the second time this season on Aug. 22. He originally sustained the injury earlier in August, returned, and then reaggravated it in his second appearance back from the disabled list.

That prompted the Indians to seek some answers for treatment, even going to the Cavaliers, as that injury is more common in basketball.

Indians manager Terry Francona said on Tuesday that Miller would pitch on Thursday, either for the Indians or in another simulated game. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway updated that on Wednesday, saying that barring a setback, Miller should be added to the active roster and rejoin the major-league club.

“I think that’s the route we’re going to take,” Callaway said. “I think if all goes to plan, and he gets in a game [Thursday], then hopefully a couple days off and maybe get him in another game before the off-day [on Monday]. And then, after the off day, we can kind of play around with his usage and try to more prepare him for what he might do moving forward.”

The good news from the club is that Miller is in a better place than he was when he came off the disabled list the first time. The issue was that Miller couldn’t really plant his lead leg like he needed in his delivery. From all accounts, that is no longer an issue.

“The mechanics of it, the way he’s bracing himself when he’s throwing his slider, which was the real issue when his knee was bothering him, are all really good,” Callaway said. “We’ve been keeping track of the numbers on Trackman during his sim games and the spin, the velocity, the break, all those things are well in line with what he does during the season. So, we’re very encouraged with everything so far.”

If he does return, the plan in the early going will be for Miller to follow a schedule set by the medical staff, allowing him to receive regular work at a more cautious pace. The idea is that the club is cautious with him in September so they can really let him go in October.

The Indians have a deep bullpen in addition to Miller, including Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw, Joe Smith, Dan Otero and Tyler Olson and others. But if a postseason game is on the line, the Indians want Miller on the mound when it matters most.

It’s in part why the club might be cautious with Miller at first in an effort to ensure he’s 100 percent for the American League Division Series and, potentially, beyond.

“It helps knowing you have more depth in the pen, that’s for sure,” Callaway said. “I think in a playoff game, you’re going to pitch your best guys. That’s just how it goes. We trust everybody in the bullpen, but when the game is on the line, I think you’re going to see Andrew Miller in there pitching most of the time.”

Ryan Lewis can be reached at [email protected]. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ.

BEREA: Kenny Britt wanted to drop the subject.

The veteran wide receiver can’t afford to drop anything else.

Not after the way coach Hue Jackson reacted to Britt’s performance Sunday in the Browns’ 21-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Britt was wide open when he dropped a pass from rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer with 11:27 left in the fourth quarter on second-and-19 at the Browns 22-yard line. The Browns went three-and-out. After a disappointing preseason, Britt finished the regular-season opener with one catch for 13 yards on three targets.

On Monday, Jackson called the drop “inexcusable” and wouldn’t commit to Britt keeping his starting job for Sunday’s road game against the Baltimore Ravens (1-0). Jackson said Wednesday he would let the practice week unfold before making a decision on Britt’s role.

“I’m not talking about it,” Britt said of the drop before Wednesday’s practice. “You all talking about it. It’s been behind me. That’s nine years in the league. You don’t get there for no reason. You’ve got Hall of Famers who have dropped balls.

“I think it was magnified because of the point of the game. Of course, we needed all the plays, especially when you’re down by a couple points.”

Britt insisted Jackson hadn’t said anything to him about the play.

Told the coach said his starting spot isn’t guaranteed, Britt said, “Things happen.”

Asked if he should be starting, Britt said, “You earn that spot, right? OK then.”

Well, has Britt earned it?

“I earn everything that I got in my life,” he said.

The Browns signed Britt in March to a four-year, $32.5 million contract, which includes $17 million guaranteed, with the hope he’d serve as their No. 2 receiver opposite Corey Coleman.

Britt, 28, conceded he feels extra pressure to capitalize on every play for his young QB.

“I believe that’s everybody on the team,” he said. “We rely on each other. It’s a team game.”

The Browns need Britt to produce for them like he did for his former team. He started all 15 games in which he appeared last season with the Los Angeles Rams and had career highs in catches (68) and receiving yards (1,002) to go along with five touchdowns.

Kizer said he trusts Britt to “score some touchdowns” for the Browns.

“There are times where there is going to be two guys on him and it is going to be a ball that is right at his face and he is going to catch it,” Kizer said. “It will be a big hurray, and everyone is going to forget the one that he dropped against Pittsburgh, honestly.”

Ready to roll

Kevin Zeitler suffered an injured right thumb against the Steelers and underwent a procedure, but Jackson said the starting right guard will face the Ravens.

“He may have to wear some protective piece over his hand,” Jackson said. “But he’s not going to miss any time. I do know that.”

Zeitler, 27, didn’t practice Wednesday, but the Browns expect him to return to practice Thursday or Friday.

“I think he’ll be right back out here very quickly, hopefully [Thursday],” Jackson said.

In the half-hour portion of practice open to media, Zeitler worked out on the side with left tackle Joe Thomas. Zeitler had a cast on his right arm almost up to his elbow.

The Browns signed Zeitler in March to a five-year, $60 million contract, making the former Cincinnati Bengals standout the highest-paid guard in NFL history.

Knocking off rust

Starting left guard Joel Bitonio admitted he wasn’t quite himself against the Steelers. Bitonio missed the final 11 games of last season with Lisfranc injury, then sat out the last three preseason games this summer with an injured knee.

“There were a couple times where I got a little tired, but I was just happy to be playing football and be back out there,” Bitonio said. “… There was a little bit of rust early in the game, some of the change of direction. Once the game went on, I got a lot more comfortable.”

It was the first time all five starting offensive linemen played together in a game. The Browns rushed 25 times for just 57 yards (2.3 average) and Kizer took seven sacks, although the 21-year-old quarterback bears a significant amount of responsibility for repeatedly holding onto the ball too long.

“Obviously, we didn’t start as good as we want to, sacks and the running game,” Bitonio said, “but we’re getting there.”

Expanding role

Receiver Kasen Williams, claimed by the Browns off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 3, expects to become increasingly involved with the offense after playing 12 of 66 snaps (18 percent) in the opener.

“More opportunities are definitely coming,” he said.

Williams didn’t have a catch on two targets.

On one of the targets, Kizer threw the ball right to rookie outside linebacker T.J. Watt for an interception. On the other, Williams beat the coverage of former Browns cornerback Joe Haden in the second quarter but failed to stay inbounds as he hauled in a deep pass from Kizer along the sideline. Kizer blamed his ball placement, but Williams said he should have made the play.

“I just felt like I had more room is really what it was,” Williams said. “Felt like I had more room, but I didn’t. But if I would’ve let it go over my shoulder, then I don’t think it would’ve been an issue. It would’ve been two feet inbounds and falling out of bounds or whatever, but I can make that catch. I can make that catch all day.”

Extra points

• Thomas needs just four more consecutive snaps to extend his streak to 10,000, according to the Browns, who believe it’s the longest stretch in NFL history.

• Jackson on the Indians’ 21-game winning streak: “This city is rocking now. There is no question. We have had the Cavs. We have the Indians. Come on, Browns! Let’s go.”

• Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger gave the Browns some love when he spoke to reporters in Pittsburgh. “That is a really good defense,” he said. “That team is going to surprise a lot of people. I am glad we played them game one.”

• Jackson thinks the weight Joe Schobert lost in the offseason and his fit as a middle linebacker in coordinator Gregg Williams’ defense has allowed him to improve. “He looks like a big-time linebacker,” Jackson said.

• Jackson said he’ll name his No. 2 quarterback for Sunday as the practice week progresses.

• Ravens coach John Harbaugh announced running back Danny Woodhead will miss at least four weeks with a hamstring injury.

• Quarterback Josh Woodrum spent the preseason with the Ravens and four days last week with the Browns after they claimed him off waivers. Cut by the Browns Thursday, Woodrum signed to Baltimore’s practice squad Tuesday.

• The Browns waived running back Brandon Wilds from injured reserve.

Nate Ulrich can be reached at [email protected]. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/abj.sports.

Surprises can be great fun. You know when it’s not fun? When it’s 6:45 a.m. and you still haven’t figured out where to park for a race that begins in 15 minutes. When you go all out because there’s a nice long downhill stretch, then suddenly find a hill around the bend. When you come to a dead stop after crossing the timing mat of your relay segment only to find your teammate is nowhere in sight.

The Sept. 23 Akron Marathon event will involve more than 13,000 runners, 3,000 volunteers and tens of thousands of spectators. As a participant, your part in all of this will go a lot more smoothly if you have a good idea of what to expect on race day.

This is the first of a five-part series showcasing the Akron Marathon course as it is broken down into five Team Relay segments.

Today, we feature the first 5.8 miles – also known as Relay Leg No. 1.

For starters, I and Deputy Metro Editor Joe Thomas did a video driving tour of all the relay segments and chatted about the course, the history of the neighborhoods and some fun facts about the Akron Marathon. Here’s Relay Leg No. 1:

SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT: THE SLAP BRACELET

If you are running the first leg for your relay team, you have one additional responsibility when you pick up your race packet at the John S. Knight Center on the Friday before the race: Grab a relay slap bracelet. They will be sitting on the counters where you get your bib.

The bracelet is passed between relay team members and since you’re the first runner, this all starts with you. Slap the bracelet on either wrist at the starting line. If you forget or lose your bracelet before you get to the starting line, you can pick up another at the Start Line Information Booth.

For competitive teams hoping to actually win the event, the slap bracelet is vital. But for those of us not expecting to stand in the winner’s circle, if for some reason you drop or lose your bracelet on the course, don’t panic. Just carry on!

RACE DAY PARKING DIRECTIONS

The race begins at 7 a.m. so plan to be in the downtown area no later than 6 a.m. If you come later, you will encounter some road closures, not to mention delays caused by the traffic and parking of more than 13,000 runners, 3,000 volunteers and assorted spectators.

For those running Relay Leg No. 1, your recommended parking is at the University of Akron parking deck on Exchange Street. To get there, take state Route 8 and exit at Carroll St./Buchtel Ave. From there, continue onto Fountain Street, turn left on Carroll, then left on Spicer, and right on Exchange. (I’m guessing you’ll just be following the crowd!) Event parking signs will guide you using the color on your racing bib. If you’re doing the relay, your bib will be pink.

When you leave the parking deck onto Exchange, turn right (west) and walk to High Street, then right again toward the starting line at 217 High Street. But you won’t go as far as the starting line because…

GEAR BAG DROP OFF AND PICK UP

…if you’re bringing along the clear gear bag provided at Friday’s packet pickup (containing nonbreakable things you’d like to have available to you when you are finished with your race) then you’ll walk from High to Buchtel, then turn left to Main, right across the street from Canal Park. It’s not as far as it sounds, pretty much a half-block walk. This is the Gear Check station. Here is also where you will pick up your bag after your race is done.

THE STARTING LINE CORRALS

After you drop off your gear check bag, you’ll need to find your corral. There are four of them, marked A, B, C or D. Your corral is determined by the pace you gave when you registered. Go to Corral A if you are running an 8:29 pace or less, B is for an 8:30 to 9:29 pace, C is for 9:30 to 11:26, and D is for everyone slower than an 11:26 pace.

Your corral assignment will be marked on your bib and you will be admitted only to that corral. This enforcement allows the smooth start of a race that involves thousands of people moving at very diverse speeds. Each corral will be walked to the starting line in waves. And remember, your personal start time doesn’t begin until you cross the timing mat.

SAG WAGON

The full marathon course is officially open for 6 hours. There is a “Support and Gear” vehicle that brings up the rear. When it passes, roads behind it are reopened and course support such as fluid stations are removed. This vehicle will follow the first half of the marathon course at a pace of about 16 minutes. If you are doing Relay Leg No. 1 faster than 16 minutes, you won’t even know it’s there.

If the wagon passes you up and you are well enough to continue, just  move to the sidewalk and keep going. From an official perspective, the race is over after 6 hours. But the Akron Marathon staff has an unofficial tradition of staying at the finish line as long as possible to give latecomers the chance to complete the race and collect their medal.

If you are injured or unable to continue, the vehicle will offer you a lift. In that case, if you have a way of communicating with your teammate on the next leg, notify them that you have withdrawn. That teammate should then leave their relay zone and continue the race. If you do not have a way of contacting your teammate, notify a race official so they can contact the next relay zone and try to get word to your teammate.

Note to our Blue Line Beginners: Our teams are comprised of runners as well as walkers below the 16-minute pace. It is conceivable that the SAG vehicle will pass a walking teammate on one leg, then be passed by a running teammate on the next leg. Regardless on what side of the wagon you find yourself on, just keep following the Blue Line. We are anticipating all of our BLB teams will take the full 6 hours to finish the full marathon course, so don’t let this discourage or stop you.

THE COURSE

Relay Leg No. 1 runs through downtown, across the Y Bridge and into the North Hill neighborhood, then winds around Gorge Boulevard before returning to downtown via the opposite side of the Y Bridge. Historically, North Hill is Akron’s Italian neighborhood, having been largely settled by immigrants from that country a century ago. But the complexion of the neighborhood has changed much in the last couple of decades. The International Institute, which works to resettle refugees in Akron, needs to keep its clients within walking distance of its resources. As such, North Hill is now home to a large population of Bhutanese, Nepalese, Hmong and other immigrants, who have brought to the neighborhood new stores, restaurants, activities and social events.

The first part of this relay segment is mostly downhill or flat, which tricks inexperienced runners into going out too fast and expending too much energy early. Don’t do this! Race Director Brian Polen ran the first mile in this video sharing helpful advice on how to tackle this early challenge:

FULL MAP TO RELAY LEG 1

COURSE SUPPORT AND HERO ZONES

* You’ll find mile markers at each mile. Clocks and kilometer markers are also located at every 5k to help you judge your pace, although remember those clocks started when the first runner crossed the starting line. If you didn’t cross the line for, say, another 10 minutes, you’ll need to deduct that from the time you see on the clock.

* You’ll find a medical aid station at miles 1.2 and 4.9.

* There are fluid stations and portable restrooms at miles 2.1 and 4.4.

* Akron Children’s Hospital, which sponsors the Akron Marathon Race Series, will feature “super hero” patients at special Hero Zones along the course. For Relay Leg No. 1, you’ll encounter Elise Bonsky at the .1 mile marker, Abby Mogen at 2.5 miles, and Josie Greco at 4.85 miles. Be sure to give them a wave as you pass them by!

COURSE ENTERTAINMENT

Watch for the following entertainment along the route:

* As you pass the Akron Art Museum, before the Y Bridge, you’ll find the reggae band Umojah Nation. (Think “imagination” when you say it.) https://umojahnation.com

* DJ Bobby will be on the Y Bridge. You may remember him from the 8k, when he was Santa, and the 10k, when he was, well, um, I’m going with Roman gladiator or Greek warrior. It’s anyone’s guess what he’ll show up as this time!

* Somewhere along Cuyahoga Falls Avenue you’ll encounter DJ Kenny Kidd.

* And on Gorge Boulevard, the North High School Marching Band will be making a joyful noise.

RELAY HAND-OFF

Each member of your relay team has his or her own bib, but all the numbers are the same. Actually, you’ll have two bibs – one for the front of your shirt, and one for the back of your shirt. Know your number.

As you approach Relay Zone No. 2 – which is behind the John S Knight Center after you cross the Y Bridge for the second time – there will be color-coded sign separating you from the half marathon and marathon runners. If you are a half marathon or marathon runner who is doubling as a Relay Leg No. 1 teammate, follow the pink sign indicating relay teams (not the gray half marathon signs or yellow marathon signs) because you need to cross the timing mat of the relay zone to complete the slap bracelet handoff.

This is important: When you cross the timing mat at the relay area, do NOT stop running. Your teammate may very well still be a 10th of a mile from you! That’s because there are up to 1,200 runners waiting beneath signs that show ranges of bib numbers. Keep jogging while looking for the sign with the range that includes your bib number. Your teammate will be there. There will also be volunteers looking at your bib number and trying to match you up quickly. When you find your teammate, hand off the slap bracelet.

If you are a half marathon or marathon runner, continue running out of the relay exchange zone and back onto the course.

Side note: The marathon doesn’t ask what relay leg you are running, so your team has the option of switching things around until the start of the race. The timing device on your bib will tell race officials which leg you ran.

FINISHER FESTIVAL

When you finish your 5.8 mile leg, you’ll find fluids in the parking lot of the John S. Knight Center. Take a moment to hydrate. Then you’ll need to walk a few blocks to Canal Park so you can enjoy the Finisher Festival.

The best way to get there is to continue past the Knight Center along Broadway to Buchtel Avenue, about four blocks away. Turn right and go to Main Street to pick up your gear bag. Once you have your gear bag, go across the street to the Diamond Boardwalk entrance of Canal Park. That is just south of the main entrance. You must be wearing a bib to enter here, and you CANNOT get to the Finisher Festival from the main entrance, so for now you’ll need to stay separated from any supporters waiting for you.

At the Finisher Festival, your bib tickets will treat you to pizza, a snack bag and beverages.

You will not pick up your medal yet. All five medals will be given to your Relay Leg No. 5 teammate to pass out. Many teams will take the full six hours (or even more) to finish the full course. Since you are likely to be at the Finisher Festival hours before your last teammate arrives, if you cannot stay, you’ll need to make arrangements to get your medal another time.

Wait, you’re not doing Relay Leg 1? Well come on back tomorrow for the scoop on Relay Leg 2!

— Paula Schleis, Beacon Journal staff reporter

CLEVELAND: It’s possible the Indians will be without Bradley Zimmer for the duration of their postseason run, regardless of how long it lasts, although he hasn’t been ruled out of anything yet.

Zimmer fractured the fourth metacarpal in his left hand when he was stepped on by Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis in Sunday night’s game. He underwent surgery, performed by Dr. Thomas Graham, on Monday in New York. The procedure involved a plate and nine screws to fixate the fracture.

The club will allow Zimmer to rest for two weeks before re-evaluating his situation. According to Indians manger Terry Francona, though, the early word is that Zimmer won’t be able to return to play for six-to-eight weeks.

If the Indians were to advance to the World Series, Game 1 is scheduled for Oct. 24 — six weeks to the day from Tuesday. While it is in the expected window for his return, it would mean Zimmer would be returning for the World Series and taking a roster spot after having not played for nearly two months.

It’s an iffy situation at best, but the Indians can look to Yan Gomes, who last year broke his hand and was thought to be done for the year. Gomes not only returned for the postseason, but he also came back several weeks ahead of schedule to appear in the regular season, even hitting a key home run in Kansas City.

“In two weeks we’ll let him get looked at it, see what he’s able to do and let him do as much as he can and see where it goes,” Francona said. “I mean, last year Gomer was supposedly done for the year and he played, so rather than [rule him out now] we just want to get him better.”

In Zimmer’s absence, the Indians do have a number of options for center field. Lonnie Chisenhall could slide over to center, particularly when Michael Brantley is able to return from a sprained right ankle. Brantley’s progress has been slow-going thus far.

Austin Jackson, Abraham Almonte and Tyler Naquin could also see expanded roles.

Coming soon

Jason Kipnis and Andrew Miller could both be activated off the disabled list within the next week. Kipnis also is on pace to come into the picture in center field.

Kipnis came up as an outfielder but hasn’t played there since his Mahoning Valley days in 2009. He shagged balls prior to Monday’s game and will be working with bench coach Brad Mills this week. The Indians have liked what they have going in the infield with Jose Ramirez, Yandy Diaz, Giovanny Urshela and Erik Gonzalez handling third base and second base. With Zimmer out and the division in hand, the Indians can see how Kipnis does in center field to keep his bat in the lineup.

“[It went] very well,” Francona said. “He’s out there again today and he’s pushing to play Sunday. I think the trainers are maybe looking at Tuesday. … That’s sort of a general timetable. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes out there and does just fine. That’s kind of how I feel about it.”

Miller, rehabbing from patella tendonitis in his right knee, is slated to throw on Thursday after completing a 30-pitch simulated game on Monday. The question for Thursday is if it will come with the Indians after his activation from the disabled list or in another simulated game.

Any role

Danny Salazar missed nearly all of the Indians’ postseason run last year and is again battling injuries with the playoffs only a few weeks away. At this point, he says he just wants to be healthy and on the roster in some form.

Currently, he’s working out of the bullpen. Salazar threw two innings on Monday night, allowing one hit and striking out one. It’s possible he could be built back up to being a starter, or he could remain as a weapon in the bullpen. Either way, he says he again feels strong.

“I’m feeling good. Right now, when I go out there, that’s what I want to do. I just want to let it go and not be afraid of feeling something,” Salazar said. “I want to help my team win in any way. I know the starting rotation right now, they’re doing great. So, if there is any way I can do something to help, even if it’s out of the ’pen, then I’ll do it.”

First pitch homecoming

Josh Williams, now in his eighth season as a professional soccer player and a member of the Columbus Crew, threw out the first pitch before Tuesday night’s game. Williams, who attended Copley High, was also a star shortstop for the Indians. Williams ended up picking soccer, but for one night he got to switch from the pitch to the diamond.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at [email protected]. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ.

CLEVELAND: The Indians’ incredible winning streak has reached 19 games. And this one looked easy.

The Indians put together a five-run second inning that opened up a sizable lead and Carlos Carrasco shut down the Detroit Tigers in an 11-0 win at Progressive Field on Monday night.

The Indians’ winning streak stands among the best in baseball history. The only longer streak in the expansion era (since 1961) belongs to the 2002 Oakland A’s, who won 20 in a row. The Indians can tie that record on Tuesday night, when they’ll have ace Corey Kluber on the mound.

In the modern era (since 1901), the Indians’ streak is tied for the third longest (without a tie) with the 1947 New York Yankees and 1906 Chicago White Sox. The 1935 Chicago White Sox hold the record for the longest winning streak without a tie in history at 21 games. The 1916 New York Giants had a 26-game streak but that included a tie.

Regardless, the Indians have one of the five longest winning streaks in history. In the 19 games, they have posted a run differential of plus-100, winning games by an average of 5.26 runs, and have trailed at the end of only four innings.

Monday night’s victory was one of the most seamless in the streak. Facing Tigers starter Myles Jaye, Yan Gomes put the Indians on top 1-0 with an RBI single up the middle in the second inning. It marked the 18th time in the last 19 games that the Indians scored first.

Greg Allen then drew a walk to load the bases for Francisco Lindor, who drilled a bases-clearing triple to the gap in right-center field to make it 4-0. Jose Ramirez later added a sacrifice fly to score Lindor, and the rout was on.

The lead was never in doubt. Carrasco continued the Indians’ historic pace for starting pitchers, delivering six scoreless innings and striking out nine. Indians starting pitchers have been nearly untouchable, posting a 1.84 ERA during the winning streak. For an offense averaging 6.95 runs per game, few have been nail-biters.

Jose Ramirez belted a two-run home run down the right-field line in the fourth. It was the 26th home run of the season for Ramirez, who continues his bid to be an MVP finalist.

For the second consecutive night, though, the Indians had a player exit the game. This time it was Ramirez, who had a pitch hit off his bat and then his left forearm. He was taken out for precautionary reasons. Earlier this month, he was forced from the lineup for a few days after being hit on the right wrist by a pitch.

It was also announced during the game that Bradley Zimmer, who left Sunday’s game after fracturing a bone in his left hand, will require surgery Tuesday morning. It will be preformed by Dr. Thomas Graham in New York. No timetable has been established for his return.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at [email protected]. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ.

BEREA: MapQuest isn’t needed to figure out the quickest route for the Browns to reverse their fortunes.

It’s rookie DeShone Kizer becoming a legitimate franchise quarterback.

Kizer gave the Browns reasons to believe he can do just that Sunday in their season-opening, 21-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“This young man gives us hope,” coach Hue Jackson said Monday. “He gives you an opportunity to make plays. When I looked up, the game was 21-10, and here we are in the fourth quarter with a chance to win the game late in the game, and that’s because of some plays he made. So that’s what you expect out of your quarterback, and we’re talking about a young rookie quarterback who’s one of the youngest players in the league at that position.

“So that’s exciting for me. I think it’s exciting for our organization. Now that was one game. He’s got to continue to grow and get better and continue to show improvement and progress week in and week out. But we played against a good football team [Sunday]. That wasn’t somebody who just walked in and played against us. That was the Pittsburgh Steelers. I thought he represented himself well.”

Kizer believes Jackson’s endorsement simply means he’s doing his job.

“Everything that he is asking me to do, I’m either working towards it or doing it,” he said.

In his NFL regular-season debut, Kizer went 20-of-30 passing for 222 yards and a touchdown with an interception for a rating of 85.7. He also rushed five times for 17 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown. On the other hand, he took seven sacks against the Steelers after taking five in the preseason. Holding onto the ball too long is a problem.

“A lot of those sacks go onto me,” Kizer said. “I have to do my best to make the proper adjustments and make sure I move the ball to the check down when I need to.”

Kizer said he needs to adjust his internal clock immediately, and Jackson insisted he’ll push the second-round draft pick from Notre Dame in practice to help it happen.

“Obviously, in this last game, that changes the game,” Kizer said. “Those sacks are moving us out of field-goal range. Those sacks are moving us to third and extra long. It is my job to make sure that we at least throw the ball away and keep the ball where it is.”

The adjustment must be made in the midst of an AFC North-style baptism by fire. After debuting against the Steelers, Kizer is preparing to visit the Baltimore Ravens, a 20-0 winner over the Cincinnati Bengals this past weekend.

“Here it is,” Jackson said. “It’s tough. I mean this is tough, but this is the National Football League. He signed up for this, so you’ve got to go. We’re going to play another good team in a good stadium. Obviously, they come off a big win [Sunday], and it’ll be loud and it’ll be rocking there in their stadium, and he’s got to go handle that environment and handle it the right way.”

So far, Kizer has carried himself as well as anyone could expect.

“When he comes off the field and he’s able to go back and regurgitate to me what he saw from a coverage standpoint and where guys should be and where his eyes and how his rhythm should’ve been, I think that’s outstanding,” Jackson said. “And sometimes it comes straight from him to me, instead of me having to ask about it.

“Then just watching him encourage the defensive players. The quarterback has got to do a great job in all three phases. Not just offense. He runs the offense, but the defense plays for him, the special teams units play for him, and that’s what you’ve got to have. They’ve got to believe that if we can get this guy back the ball, he’s going to make plays for us and give us a chance to win.

“That’s how you start to really build a quarterback in the National Football League. But he has to be able to take on all those different roles, and that’s the pressure of playing this position. And I think he’s working through that and understanding how to make that happen.”

Kizer is comfortable with an NFL franchise riding on his shoulders.

“It is awesome. This is my dream job,” he said. “I have understood the responsibilities that NFL quarterbacks have since high school when everyone kind of tells you all of the different things that you have to do and how there is always going to be another step and how there is always going to be a bigger task at hand in front of you.

“The quarterback position is supposed to be the ultimate coach on the field. There is supposed to be a direct connection to the message that the head coach is saying. So, obviously, coach is out there inspiring us every day to go out and work hard and become better. It is my job to continue to push his message and take on all responsibilities that I need to take on as the starting quarterback.”

Kizer said the game has been slowing down for him, and Jackson has been impressed by how the 21-year-old has been handling his reads and progressions.

Jackson thought Kizer’s 29-yard pass to wide receiver Ricardo Louis on a seam route in the fourth quarter “was outstanding.” The coach liked how Kizer cycled through his options and found running back/slot receiver Duke Johnson over the middle in the second quarter for 14 yards. Both passes were made during touchdown drives.

“It’s those kind of things he’s doing that shows me he’s not just playing ‘pick a guy and throw the ball to him,’ ” Jackson said. “He’s working within our system, within our progressions and getting the ball to the right people.”

Kizer said he has received quite a few text messages from well-wishers since Sunday, but he’s focused on learning from his mistakes and moving on.

Teammates consider the combination of Kizer’s approach and performance encouraging.

“He’s a great competitor,” Louis said. “He’s a great quarterback. He’s a smart quarterback. I think with him learning and continuing to play more and getting different looks and getting the coaching that he’s getting, the leadership on this team, I think we can accomplish a lot with him.”

Nate Ulrich can be reached at [email protected]. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/abj.sports.

BEREA: Browns rookie defensive end Myles Garrett hopes to return from the high ankle sprain he suffered last week as soon as possible, but the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft also wants to come back completely healed.

“Me knowing myself, I want to get out there as soon as possible,” Garrett said Monday, speaking to reporters for the first time since his right ankle was injured when a teammate fell onto his leg during Wednesday’s practice. “I want to test my limits. I want to go out there and play right away. But I know I’ll be hurting the team and myself if I go out there too soon.”

Garrett dealt with a left high ankle sprain last season as a junior at Texas A&M, missed two games and pushed through the injury during the second half of the season. His production dropped to 8.5 sacks after he racked up 12.5 as a sophomore and 11.5 as a freshman.

This time, the injury isn’t quite as severe, and Garrett said he’s feeling better. Still, high ankle sprains typically require four to six weeks of recovery.

“I think this one’s a little bit lesser than the one I had before,” he said. “So just make sure I take my time and fully recover and don’t get out there too quickly.”

Garrett sat out Sunday’s 21-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the regular-season opener. He’ll miss a road game Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. And if he’s determined not to rush back, he’ll likely miss at least a third or fourth game, too.

It’s obviously a huge disappointment for Garrett after he bounced back from a left lateral foot sprain suffered June 14 in mandatory minicamp to perform at an exceptional level during training camp and the preseason.

“It’s rough, but when I come back, I’m going to be a boost to my defense,” said Garrett, who’s wearing a walking boot. “I’m going to do whatever I can to make a difference.”

Garrett said he’s been spending his days rehabilitating the ankle at Browns headquarters in addition to doing upper-body workouts and some conditioning. He’s also been studying film and helping his teammates prepare.

Without Garrett, the Browns held the Steelers to two touchdowns (the third TD was a blocked punt recovered in the end zone). But they certainly missed their starting right defensive end. Per ProFootballFocus.com, the Browns had just one pressure on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s 37 dropbacks. It was the sack defensive end Carl Nassib registered.

“We can stop the run,” Garrett said. “We can go out there and stand firm against anybody. We have to get after the passer a little bit more, and we have to get some more sacks and a little bit more disruption and pressure back there. And I feel I can help.”

On notice

Veteran wide receiver Kenny Britt is in danger of losing his starting job after a rough preseason and a dropped pass against the Steelers.

“Let’s see what we’re doing this week. Let’s find out,” coach Hue Jackson said when asked why Britt is still starting. “You’re saying he’s starting this week. We don’t know that. So let’s see where we are this week and go from there.”

Britt joined the Browns in March by signing a four-year, $32.5 million contract. They’re counting on him to become the No. 2 receiver opposite Corey Coleman.

But Britt had just one catch on three targets for 13 yards Sunday.

On second-and-19 at the Browns 22-yard line, Britt was wide open when he dropped a pass from rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer for a would-be first down. The Browns went three-and-out.

“Some of the great ones have dropped balls, but you can’t do that to a young quarterback because he needs guys to make as many plays for him as they can in that situation,” Jackson said. “I think Kenny gets that. He knows that’s inexcusable. He has to make that play.”

Ricardo Louis is the team’s No. 3 receiver, unless you count running back Duke Johnson. Of Johnson’s 51 snaps against the Steelers, he lined up at receiver 49 times (including 46 in the slot) and tight end twice, according to PFF.

However, Jackson insisted Johnson isn’t strictly a receiver now.

“No, no, that was [Sunday],” Jackson said. “That was that plan for that game, and it will change as we go. Duke is a very valuable member of our offensive football team in both phases — in the pass game and the run game.”

He picked an ankle

After cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun deflected a pass from Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and safety Derrick Kindred intercepted it, Roethlisberger used an interesting technique against defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah with 12:05 left in the fourth quarter.

Ogbah blocked Roethlisberger by pushing him to the ground, whereupon Roethlisberger dived at Ogbah’s left ankle and held on as Ogbah fell on his backside. An official watched the scene but didn’t call a penalty. Fortunately for Ogbah, his ankle wasn’t injured.

“He did not take me down,” Ogbah said. “I went down because the ref was right there, and I thought I was going to get a flag. But I didn’t get a flag, so I was surprised.

“I was blocking him. I guess he thought I was trying to fight him. I don’t know what he was thinking.”

What if the roles were reversed?

“I would’ve gotten fined,” Ogbah said.

Special teams gaffe

Rookie running back Matthew Dayes said miscommunication between him and long snapper Charley Hughlett allowed linebacker Tyler Matakevich to block a punt that fellow Steelers linebacker Anthony Chickillo recovered in the end zone for a touchdown with 12:44 left in the first quarter.

“It was rough, but I was over it,” said Dayes, who served as the personal protector on the punt team throughout the preseason. “I was ready to move on to the next play. I didn’t think about it at all until after the game.

“We looked over it, and we will fix it. We know what to do from here on.”

Extra points

• Starting right guard Kevin Zeitler suffered a thumb injury against the Steelers. “I think everything is going to be OK,” Jackson said. “I feel comfortable saying that, but we’ll see where it goes the rest of this week.”

• Roethlisberger improved to 21-2 as a starter against the Browns and 11-2 as a starter in Cleveland. Now Big Ben has more victories in Cleveland than any Browns quarterback since 1999. Derek Anderson had 10.

• How did former Browns cornerback Joe Haden fare in his debut with the Steelers? This assessment is from PFF: “While he broke up a pass early on, the rest of his outing was average at best. He didn’t give up any major plays, but did allow six catches for 80 yards and a 106.3 passer rating into his coverage.”

• Jackson explained why he used a timeout after Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown caught a jump ball for 38 yards with 2:28 left in the fourth quarter, only to immediately spend his third and final timeout by challenging the play. “I made a decision we were going to call timeout right after the play,” he said. “I already told the official. So I walked away. Then all of a sudden, the play happened, and then all of a sudden, the timeout already happened.”

• Referee Craig Wrolstad explained Jackson lost the challenge because Brown had control of the ball and rolled over before it came loose on the ground. But Jackson still isn’t convinced. “I thought [the rule] was total possession to and through the ground,” he said. “I’m sure I saw the tip of the ball hit and kind of come out. That’s what I saw, so I have to go with my gut. That’s why I threw the [challenge] flag. One of the officials said, ‘Now that’s a good challenge.’ When it didn’t go that way he was like, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ He felt the same way I did.” The catch allowed the Steelers to run out the clock.

Nate Ulrich can be reached at [email protected]. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/abj.sports.

CLEVELAND: The numbers put up and the records set by the Indians in their franchise-record winning streak have been impressive if not historic.

But what about those who have been stuck on the disabled list, chained to a TV or a seat in the dugout to watch most or all of the streak from afar?

Even as the list of records broken has lengthened, the fact the Indians won 17 in a row entering Sunday without the likes of their everyday No. 3 hitter, perhaps the best reliever in baseball and others might warrant as much consideration as the ridiculous numbers — for example, that the Indians trailed at the end of only four innings in 17 games and had a run differential of plus-88 in that time.

It has all been done with Michael Brantley, Andrew Miller and Jason Kipnis on the disabled list, dealing with various injuries.

Brantley has spent much of it on a treadmill. Rehabbing from a sprained right ankle, Brantley has been able to hit and throw but hasn’t been able to progress beyond the AlterG treadmill to be able to run on the field. He’s continued to be a mainstay in the locker room but an absentee from his normal spot in the lineup.

“Anytime you’re with your teammates, especially a group that you love so much and want to be a part of, be a part of a great experience, it’s a little bit frustrating,” Brantley said. “But at the same time, I’ve got to get right, I’ve got to get 100 percent healthy, so I can come back here and contribute in a positive way with my teammates.”

Brantley was placed on the disabled list Aug 9. With only a few weeks left in the regular season, the postseason is all of a sudden approaching. But a direct timeline still is not there.

“I can’t [look at the calendar] or else I’ll get really, really frustrated,” Brantley said. “I’ve got to take the time that I need to get healed. Whenever that happens, every day, I’m getting a little bit better. I’m not regressing. I’ve got to continue to push forward.”

The Indians have received contributions from nearly everyone who has been called up, lessening, at least in terms of the divisional race, the need to rush any player back from the disabled list. Home-field advantage is now within reach, but the focus will continue to be ensuring the club is healthy heading into October.

Having to watch from the sidelines has been frustrating for Brantley, but seeing the contributions from around the roster has been one of the positives.

“They’ve been phenomenal,” he said. “Hats off to the leaders we have in this locker room, the young group and the core of guys that are stepping up at the time. It’s a team effort.

‘‘It always has been since I’ve been here. Not one guy is always going to steal the show. It’s been a team effort all the way around, especially through this winning streak. It’s very fun to watch.”

Kipnis was placed on the 10-day DL on Aug. 23 after he re-aggravated a hamstring injury. According to Indians manager Terry Francona, he is starting to make some headway in his rehab, though a direct timeline has still not been established.

“He really is feeling good,” Francona said. “The trainers have a progression he needs to follow. The good side of that is he’s really starting to feel good.

‘‘You can tell when a guy, one, he’s getting excited, [and] two, he’s pushing them, so you can tell he’s feeling good.”

Miller, meanwhile, is slated to throw a simulated game on Monday as he deals with patella tendonitis in his right knee, which he had also re-aggravated.

Whether he throws another, according to Francona, has not yet been determined.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at [email protected]. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ

CLEVELAND: Back-to-back home runs.

Another strong outing from a starter.

The bullpen closing the door.

And win No. 18 before a national audience.

The Indians just keep rolling. Behind a quality start by Trevor Bauer and a power display in the sixth, the Indians took down the Baltimore Orioles 3-2 Sunday night at Progressive Field to secure their 18th consecutive win. The game was broadcast on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.

Three hitters into the game, a team that has only trailed four innings in 17 games entering Sunday grabbed the lead. Francisco Lindor led off the first with a double off Orioles starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (2-4) and advanced to third on Lonnie Chisenhall’s bloop single. Jose Ramirez then grounded a ball to second base, which was enough to allow Lindor to score.

The Orioles tied it in sixth against Bauer. Manny Machado doubled and was driven in by Jonathan Schoop on a single to left.

The deadlocked score didn’t last long. Roberto Perez, the first batter of the sixth inning, drove a solo home run — his fifth of the season — above the 19-foot wall in left field to give the Indians (87-56) a 2-1 lead.

Lindor followed suit, with a little help from Abraham Almonte, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, who was reporting from the field. During Lindor’s at-bat, he broke his bat and needed a new one. According to Olney, Almonte tossed him one of his. On Lindor’s next swing, he launched a solo home run to right field and immediately turned toward the Indians’ dugout and smiled.

With a 3-1 lead, Bauer (16-8) allowed a solo home run to Chris Davis in the seventh to bring the Orioles (71-72) to within 3-2 and end his night on the mound. He finished with two earned runs allowed on seven hits and seven strikeouts in 6⅓ innings, continuing his string of solid starts.

Joe Smith, Tyler Olson, Nick Goody and Cody Allen (26 saves) combined to lock down the final 2⅓ innings to keep the streak alive.

It wasn’t all good news Sunday night. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Bradley Zimmer grounded a ball to the right side and sprinted to first. As a tag was attempted by Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, Zimmer slid into first base. It appeared that Zimmer hit his head on the ground and had his left hand stepped on by Davis.

He remained down on the ground for a few moments as trainers tended to him near first. He then walked off with the trainers and was taken out of the game. Greg Allen replaced him in center field.

It was later announced that Zimmer had suffered an injury to his left hand. Zimmer had recently returned from Major League Baseball’s concussion protocol after having to exit the Indians’ game in Detroit on Sept. 2 after coming down hard while trying to make a catch in center field, which certainly made the apparent hit to the head a bit more concerning.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at [email protected]. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians.

CLEVELAND: The numbers put up and the records set by the Indians in their franchise-record winning streak have been impressive if not historic.

But what about those who have been stuck on the disabled list, chained to a TV or a seat in the dugout to watch most or all of the streak from afar?

Even as the list of records broken has lengthened, the fact the Indians won 17 in a row entering Sunday without the likes of their everyday No. 3 hitter, perhaps the best reliever in baseball and others might warrant as much consideration as the ridiculous numbers — for example, that the Indians trailed at the end of only four innings in 17 games and had a run differential of plus-88 in that time.

It has all been done with Michael Brantley, Andrew Miller and Jason Kipnis on the disabled list, dealing with various injuries.

Brantley has spent much of it on a treadmill. Rehabbing from a sprained right ankle, Brantley has been able to hit and throw but hasn’t been able to progress beyond the AlterG treadmill to be able to run on the field. He’s continued to be a mainstay in the locker room but an absentee from his normal spot in the lineup.

“Anytime you’re with your teammates, especially a group that you love so much and want to be a part of, be a part of a great experience, it’s a little bit frustrating,” Brantley said. “But at the same time, I’ve got to get right, I’ve got to get 100 percent healthy, so I can come back here and contribute in a positive way with my teammates.”

Brantley was placed on the disabled list Aug 9. With only a few weeks left in the regular season, the postseason is all of a sudden approaching. But a direct timeline still is not there.

“I can’t [look at the calendar] or else I’ll get really, really frustrated,” Brantley said. “I’ve got to take the time that I need to get healed. Whenever that happens, every day, I’m getting a little bit better. I’m not regressing. I’ve got to continue to push forward.”

The Indians have received contributions from nearly everyone who has been called up, lessening, at least in terms of the divisional race, the need to rush any player back from the disabled list. Home-field advantage is now within reach, but the focus will continue to be ensuring the club is healthy heading into October.

Having to watch from the sidelines has been frustrating for Brantley, but seeing the contributions from around the roster has been one of the positives.

“They’ve been phenomenal,” he said. “Hats off to the leaders we have in this locker room, the young group and the core of guys that are stepping up at the time. It’s a team effort.

‘‘It always has been since I’ve been here. Not one guy is always going to steal the show. It’s been a team effort all the way around, especially through this winning streak. It’s very fun to watch.”

Kipnis was placed on the 10-day DL on Aug. 23 after he re-aggravated a hamstring injury. According to Indians manager Terry Francona, he is starting to make some headway in his rehab, though a direct timeline has still not been established.

“He really is feeling good,” Francona said. “The trainers have a progression he needs to follow. The good side of that is he’s really starting to feel good.

‘‘You can tell when a guy, one, he’s getting excited, [and] two, he’s pushing them, so you can tell he’s feeling good.”

Miller, meanwhile, is slated to throw a simulated game on Monday as he deals with patella tendonitis in his right knee, which he had also re-aggravated.

Whether he throws another, according to Francona, has not yet been determined.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at [email protected]. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ

CLEVELAND: Analytics’ emphasis on dollars and cents may be clashing with the football sense of the Browns coaching staff — at least when it comes to cornerback Joe Haden.

Haden returned to FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday to face his old team in the NFL’s opening weekend. However, according to a report from CBS’ NFL insider Jason La Canfora, it’s possible Haden would still be with the Browns if coach Hue Jackson had his say.

According to the report, Jackson was “irate” when executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown decided to cut Haden, suggesting a rift might exist between the coaching staff and front office.

“That did not come from me. I think you guys know me well enough that if I feel something, I am going to say it,” Jackson said of the report. “I don’t run from that. Me and the executive team are working lockstep, hand-in-hand. I don’t know where that came from.”

On Aug. 29, the day before the team cut Haden, Jackson offered praise for the cornerback who’d spent seven years with the team after being drafted in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft out of Florida.

“I think he’s had a great training camp. I think he’s played well in our games,” Jackson said. “So he’s a huge piece of what we do on defense, and we’ll just keep moving from there.”

Apparently, Brown didn’t consider the piece significant enough. He released Haden the next day, and on Aug. 31 called it one of the most difficult decisions he’d ever made. He refused to answer whether the organization made the decision based on performance or finances.

Haden didn’t stay on the market long and on Aug. 30 signed a 3-year, $27 million contract with the Steelers.

Jackson said he trusted the decisions Brown and his executive team were making.

“I never wanted to see Joe go but, at the same time, we made the decision as an organization. I totally stand behind it,” he said.

Haden said he was unaware of the report. And when asked if he’d heard it before the report, he chose his words carefully.

“No,” he said. “I don’t even want to get into it.”

Haden said several times that he understood that, ultimately, football is a business.

“Some decisions aren’t held with the coach,” he said. “Me and the coach, we had a really good relationship, but some stuff is over his head.”

He said that he had the chance to speak with former teammates before and after Sunday’s game, won by the Steelers 21-18. Jason McCourty, who the Browns signed in the offseason, said it was weird seeing Haden in the black and gold even though he didn’t get the chance to know him very well.

“But I remember just being on my visit, he was one of the reasons it made it an easy decision for me to come here. To see him Week 1 on the other side is definitely a weird feeling,” McCourty said. “Happy for him that he got to go somewhere so fast and I know he’s excited about being there. I look forward to seeing him another time this year.”

Haden called the last 10 days a roller coaster, but he said he’s made the transition well. Considering he received a game ball for getting his first-ever opening-game win, it would seem so. He can settle in.

“It was just crazy because it ended up being Cleveland for the first game,” he said. “Now it’s just on to the season.”

George M. Thomas can be reached at [email protected]. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ.

CLEVELAND: Here we go, Brownies … Here we go …

WOOF! WOOF!

The chants were loud and proud as thousands of Browns fans — and what seemed to be an equal number of Steelers fans — filed into FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday for the start of the NFL’s regular season.

Cleveland fans were optimistic after the Browns went 4-0 in the preseason.

Then came the first possession of the game. Led by rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, the Browns went a quick three and out.

And then disaster.

The Steelers blocked Britton Colquitt’s punt and recovered it in the Browns’ end zone for a touchdown.

A sarcastic “Way to go, Brownies” broke out on the main concourse. It was met by a lackluster “woof, woof.”

“They scored already? Ai, yi, yi, yi,” said an exasperated Irene Lemponen of Maple Heights.

Her husband, John, just shook his head back and forth while resting his weight on his cane.

“We have to do a hell of a lot to turn things around,” he said.

The couple have been season ticket-holders since the Browns returned in 1999 and well before that in the Art Modell era.

John Lemponen, 88, said he can’t remember how long he’s had seats at the stadium but can remember the glory days in the 1950s when a young fellow by the name of Otto Graham was quarterback.

Whether Kizer can restore the luster to the Browns remains to be seen, but the team did end the game in a respectable, albeit 21-18 loss to the Steelers.

The game was close enough to keep most of the fans in their seats until the end. But after last year’s single-win season, said Irene Lemponen, 83, a loss is still a loss.

“It’s getting to the point that I’m ready to say enough is enough,” she said.

John, like most diehard Browns fans, said he will keep coming back for more.

“Hell, it was one and 15 last season so we have to be able to improve on that,” he said.

As with its improved play on the field, the team worked to mend fences with some fans critical of a preseason protest by some players who kneeled or stood off to the sidelines during the national anthem.

Browns players along with 20 police officers, 10 military service members, five firefighters and five EMTs collectively ran out of the tunnel just before the start of the game.

And when the national anthem was sung, players locked arms on the sidelines with the first responders and Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam.

This was a peaceful end to a touchy situation that escalated to the point where Cleveland’s safety forces unions had asked its members to boycott participating in the opening ceremonies.

The two sides agreed to make peace in the days before the game.

Before the anthem, a video was played on the giant scoreboards where players talked about the need for unity at a time when it appears race still divides the nation.

Browns coach Hue Jackson said after the game that the show of unity in the pregame was “huge.”

“We are all in this together,” he said of finding ways to mend the racial divide.

Back on the concourse, the controversy stirred by the player protest at the preseason game against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football was lost among the friendly and not-so-friendly jabs exchanged between those wearing the orange and brown and the black and gold.

Browns fan Nathan Velican of Twinsburg said he figured the Browns would lose to the rival Steelers.

“I’ve got my fantasy team to think about,” he said with a laugh. “I didn’t want them to win this one — they can win when they meet again at the end of season.”

Craig Webb can be reached at [email protected] or 330-996-3547.