Lindor launches 100th in 2-homer night

Tribe bullpen locks down critical win vs. Astros

April 27th, 2019

HOUSTON -- added another milestone to his resume Friday night, launching his 100th and 101st career home runs to join some pretty elite company.

In the Indians’ 6-3 win over the Astros, the 25-year-old shortstop blasted No. 100 into the second deck in right field in the third inning at Minute Maid Park. After and each homered, and the bullpen shut the Houston offense down, Lindor then gave his closer, , some breathing room in the ninth on a two-run homer that put the Tribe up by three.

“It’s an honor. It’s a privilege. I’m blessed,” Lindor said. “With the injury before the year, and working as hard as I can to help my team win, it’s a privilege and I’m blessed to be out here and I thank the Lord for everything he’s done for me. At the end of the day, I just want to win the game.”

No. 100

With two outs and the Indians trailing by two in the top of the third, Lindor worked a 3-2 count against Astros starter Collin McHugh, sitting just one swing away from his 100th career homer.

“If I would say I wasn’t aware of it, I’d be lying, but I wasn’t really paying attention to it,” Lindor said. “I knew it was there. I knew I fell short last year of 100. I wanted 40 home runs. I hit 38. So I knew at some point, it was going to happen. It was just a matter of when. I wasn’t focused at all on it. I was just trying to put the ball in play.”

He then took the sixth pitch of the at-bat 421 feet to right field as he dropped down to one knee mid-swing on a slider noticeably out of the strike zone, low and in. Lindor became the third-youngest player to reach the milestone in Indians history (25 years, 163 days), trailing Hal Trosky (23 years, 307 days) and Manny Ramirez (25 years, 70 days).

“I’ve played with some great players over the years,” Gonzalez said. “A lot of good hitters. Frankie’s special. Frankie’s a different player. He’s not just a great player on the field. He’s one of those guys you don’t get to see very often in the game. Whenever he comes in the clubhouse, it feels like the whole place gets really bright. That great smile, that great intensity that he brings to the game. It’s unbelievable.

“I’m trying to learn from him. It might sound funny because I’ve been playing the game for a long time. But every day we learn something new, and he’s definitely one of those guys that can push you to be better. Being around him is special.”

Lindor also is the third-youngest shortstop in Major League history to hit 100 homers and play at least 90 percent of their games at short. Alex Rodriguez did so when he was 23 years, 16 days old, and Cal Ripken Jr. blasted his 100th at 24 years, 356 days.

“He’s in the company,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “The only thing he hasn’t done is accumulate years yet. ... I mean, you saw the comparisons that they were bringing up last year. It was [Joe] DiMaggio and names like that. That’s pretty elite company.”

Bullpen shuts Houston down

Yes, it’s clear that the Indians will need to rely on their starting pitching to win games this season, and it’s shown as the team went 11-2 in games where their starters pitch at least six innings and just 2-8 when they go less than six entering Friday.

But the bullpen stepped up in a big way Friday night, as Adam Cimber, Oliver Perez, Nick Wittgren and Hand -- who worked his third consecutive game -- combined for four shutout innings after Corey Kluber exited after the fifth.

“I thought [Cimber] was terrific,” Francona said. “I mean, he only threw like 12 pitches. And Wittgren again comes in a tough situation and makes pitches. … It’s nice to get those couple runs [in the ninth] because [Alex] Bregman and [Jose] Altuve make you nervous, but [Hand] looked stronger today than he did the last two days.”