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Statcast of the Day: Lindor bests Devenski

MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- Francisco Lindor could not hide his smile when told how far his home run soared on Thursday night. The Indians shortstop keeps insisting that he is not a power hitter, but he sent a pitch from Astros reliever Chris Devenski over the seats in center field and into the Progressive Field bullpens.

"I'm not supposed to be hitting the ball that far," Lindor said after the Indians' 4-3 victory over Houston.

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CLEVELAND -- Francisco Lindor could not hide his smile when told how far his home run soared on Thursday night. The Indians shortstop keeps insisting that he is not a power hitter, but he sent a pitch from Astros reliever Chris Devenski over the seats in center field and into the Progressive Field bullpens.

"I'm not supposed to be hitting the ball that far," Lindor said after the Indians' 4-3 victory over Houston.

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The two-run blast in the seventh inning came at a critical turn against one of baseball's elite relievers, putting Cleveland ahead for good in a matchup of a pair of American League clubs with designs of playing in October. According to Statcast™, Lindor's shot -- his sixth of the season -- traveled a projected 456 feet. That represents the longest home run of the shortstop's career.

Video: Hamilton calls Lindor's go-ahead homer in the 7th

The fact that Lindor slugged the longest homer of his career is impressive enough. Coming through against Devenski takes things up a notch.

"Everybody knows he has it," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said of Lindor's power. "He clearly sat on it and got it elevated. I don't know where the pitch was from the side. Their guy beat our guy. That's really the equivalent of that matchup on a big pitch and a big swing."

Tweet from @MLBastian: Francisco Lindor had two at-bats vs. Chris Devenski tonight. Lined out and then homered on changeups to nearly the same spot. pic.twitter.com/l9CSsEoAGy

Last year, Houston leaned on the right-hander for 83 2/3 relief innings, and Devenski posted a 1.61 ERA out of the bullpen. Indians manager Terry Francona, who has an affinity for multi-inning relievers, raved about Devenski throughout the series. Heading into Thursday's game, Devenski had a 1.26 ERA with 27 strikeouts and one walk in 14 1/3 innings.

Armed with a 3-2 lead, Devenski took over in the fifth inning and got Lindor to line out on the fourth pitch of their first battle. It was a changeup that ducked under the strike zone, and the shortstop pulled it into the glove of first baseman Yuli Gurriel.

Video: HOU@CLE: Gurriel reacts quickly to grab hard liner

"You can tell by where they brought him in, the situation, how much confidence they have in him," Francona said. "He's tremendous. Sometimes you need good players to step up."

Lindor said his first plate appearance helped prepare him for the seventh-inning meeting.

"Seeing it on video and stepping into the box is completely different," Lindor said. "The first time I faced him, I saw for the first time this year the changeup that he's throwing, and the fastballs. You get an idea of what the pitch is going to do, and then you go off that."

With a runner on first, Devenski attacked Lindor in a similar fashion as the first at-bat. Lindor saw a changeup low and away, and watched it for a ball. Devenski followed with an elevated fastball, which the shortstop also took to pull ahead in the count, 2-0. Then, the reliever went back to a low changeup, and the pitch caught the low-inside part of the zone. The pitch location was near where the changeup went for the lineout one at-bat earlier.

This time, Lindor crushed it to center with an exit velocity of 108 mph, giving the Indians a 4-3 lead.

"I felt like it was a good piece of hitting," Devenski said. "He kind of went down and got it. No excuses, but he drove it out of the park."

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 listen to his podcast.

Cleveland Indians, Chris Devenski, Francisco Lindor