Lindor rakes as Tribe trims magic number

Indians shortstop logs 4 RBIs, ties club mark for leadoff HRs

September 6th, 2018

TORONTO -- Indians shortstop was a force to be reckoned with on Thursday night.
The 24-year-old clubbed a pair of homers off Blue Jays starter Sam Gaviglio, including his seventh leadoff home run of the season to tie a franchise mark, and he added a two-run single in a four-hit game that culminated in a 9-4 victory at Rogers Centre.
The Tribe's magic number to win the American League Central title is down to seven.
Lindor entered Thursday hitting just .224 with a .278 OBP over his previous 25 games, but he burst out of the slump in a big way in recording his eighth career multi-homer game and tying his career best of 33 home runs, set last season. It was Lindor's sixth multi-homer game out of the leadoff spot this season, the most by any player in Major League history.

"He does a lot of things," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He likes hitting there. ... It's good when you turn the lineup over and you've got a guy sitting there like that."
Lindor crushed a 2-0 sinker from Gaviglio over the right-center-field wall in the first to tie Grady Sizemore (2008) for the club mark before adding a solo homer in the third.
"The way I see it is, when a starting pitcher goes out there and we're at home, and he strikes out two guys on nine pitches, he gets out of the inning, that's like, 'Here we go, it's on,'" Lindor said. "It's probably the same thing if I lead off the game with a home run or a double and end up scoring, the pitcher is just like. 'All right, yes, here we go.'"
Lindor's go-ahead two-run single in the fifth inning was part of a three-run rally started by ' dribbler down the third-base line for an infield hit. Gomes scored on 's RBI double to cut the Indians' deficit to 4-3 before Lindor's single gave the Tribe a 5-4 lead.
"He was the majority of our offense for a while there," Francona said. "He came out of the chute with two home runs, then got a big hit to drive in two more, played a good game at short. It's fun to watch."

Indians starter Shane Bieber got into trouble in a four-run fourth inning when he gave up a leadoff single, then walked . After getting swinging, Bieber gave up a pair of doubles. Two batters later, let a hard ground ball get past him for an error that scored the Blue Jays' fourth run of the frame.
"Obviously, I'd rather that I'd never have to get over a big inning," Bieber said. "But if you're going to have one, just being able to go out there and just keep competing, that was big for me, and just going out there and trying to give the team a chance to win."
Bieber went 6 1/3 innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits with six strikeouts and just one walk. He entered play on Thursday leading all rookie pitchers who have recorded at least 70 innings pitched with a 5.80 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
"I thought he was really good," Francona said. "He ran that one spot where three or four hitters there and we didn't finish the inning for him, but he bounced back and pitched really good after that, and I thought that was really encouraging."

The Indians' bullpen threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings and hit a three-run insurance homer in the ninth.
Allen gave the Indians a scare in the eighth inning after walking the leadoff batter and giving up a double to three batters later when a ground ball again got past Alonso at first. With the potential tying run at second, Allen struck out to end the frame.

"I thought he spun the ball very well," Francona said. "He got some swing and miss with it. ... He gets the third out, we don't convert it, and he comes back and gets the next guy."
singled, doubled and drove in a pair of runs in going 2-for-4. He is hitting .298 over his last 28 games.

Indians right-hander (16-8, 3.52) will take the ball at 7:07 p.m. ET on Friday for the second of four games against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The 31-year-old struggled in his only start against Toronto this season, allowing six runs over 5 1/3 innings in the first game of a doubleheader on May 3. Toronto will counter with righty (7-11, 5.43), who has thrown just 6 1/3 innings over his past two starts due to a back injury.