CLEVELAND -- After Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez were each named to the American League All-Star team, it was fair to wonder if the Indians' dynamic infield duo would want to square off in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby. Lindor expressed that he did not have interest in the event,
CLEVELAND -- After Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez were each named to the American League All-Star team, it was fair to wonder if the Indians' dynamic infield duo would want to square off in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby. Lindor expressed that he did not have interest in the event, adding that his teammate was the power hitter of the two.
The numbers say that they are both power hitters right now, and they held their own Derby in the first inning of Tuesday's 7-4 loss to the Reds.
"They drive each other, which is cool," Indians starter Corey Kluber said on Sunday. "It's funny, I feel like if Frankie goes out there and hits a double, Jose is going to go out there and hit a homer and vice versa. I think they kind of feed off each other, which is good for us."
Lindor led off the bottom of the first inning with a shot deep into the right-field stands against Reds righty Sal Romano, pulling into a tie with Ramirez with 24 home runs on the season. They only shared the team lead for a few minutes, though. Two batters later, Ramirez crushed a pitch from Romano over the wall in center for his 25th blast of the year.
Ramirez, who will start for the AL in Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by Mastercard (7:30 p.m. ET on FOX), is currently tied with Michael Trout of the Angels and Aaron Judge of the Yankees for the second-highest homer total in MLB. Boston slugger J.D. Martinez leads baseball with 28 blasts. Lindor (named an AL All-Star reserve by his peers) is right behind the game's power pacesetters.
With five games remaining in the first half, Ramirez is two home runs shy of Albert Belle's 1996 club record of 27 homers before the All-Star break. Ramirez joins Belle ('94, '96), Jim Thome (2001-02), Travis Hafner ('06), Manny Ramirez ('99) and Al Rosen ('50) as the only players in Indians history with at least 25 homers before the break.
Lindor's home run was his fifth leadoff shot of the season, tying Kenny Lofton (1999) for the second-most homers of that kind in a season. Grady Sizemore holds that record, with eight game-opening shots in 2008. Lindor's eight career leadoff homers rank fourth in club history, trailing Sizemore (22), Lofton (18) and Al Smith (11).
Tuesday's blast also put Lindor in some exclusive company in terms of home runs by a shortstop. His 24 homers are tied for the fourth-highest total before the All-Star break by an MLB shortstop. Alex Rodriguez boasts the most with 27 before the break for the 2002 Rangers. Ernie Banks (26 for the 1960 Cubs) is next on the list, followed by Rodriguez (25 for the '01 Rangers) again and Rico Petrocelli (25 for the '69 Red Sox).
This marked the ninth time this season that Lindor and Ramirez went deep in the same game, marking the most by an MLB duo to this point this year. It's the most by a pair of Cleveland teammates before the break in the franchise's history, per STATS LLC.
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.