BOSTON -- Francisco Lindor made his opinion on the matter heard. After pulling off a headfirst, rolling slide at the plate, the Indians' dynamic shortstop sprung to his feet, thrust his arms out and shouted as he waited for home-plate umpire Chad Fairchild to make the call."I screamed, 'Safe!'" Lindor
BOSTON -- Francisco Lindor made his opinion on the matter heard. After pulling off a headfirst, rolling slide at the plate, the Indians' dynamic shortstop sprung to his feet, thrust his arms out and shouted as he waited for home-plate umpire Chad Fairchild to make the call.
"I screamed, 'Safe!'" Lindor said after Friday's 4-2 win over the Red Sox.
Fairchild agreed, setting off a celebratory leap from Lindor, who pumped his fist in the air as the Fenway Park crowd groaned in the third inning. The shortstop has turned this trick a few times before, but this was Boston's first look at the creativity of the Tribe's budding star.
• Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Lindor and other #ASGWorthy players
In this win -- the fifth in a row for the Indians -- Lindor showed off his all-around skill set. He made a barehanded grab-and-throw on a Xander Bogaerts grounder for an out in the first inning. In the same frame, Lindor sprinted into shallow center field to make an over-the-shoulder catch to rob Travis Shaw of a possible hit. Lindor drew two walks. He collected two hits. He stole a base.
And then, there was that slide, the one tailor-made for GIFs and Vines.
• Vine: Lindor's stellar slide
"Players like that," Indians manager Terry Francona said, "the game's not going as fast as it is for the rest of us. He's obviously got athleticism, but his instincts are really good, too."
The situation presented itself with one out, Lindor on third base and Jose Ramirez at the plate. Three batters earlier, Jason Kipnis put a charge into a pitch from Clay Buchholz, launching a three-run home run that gave Cleveland a 3-2 advantage. When Ramirez later lofted a pitch to center field, Lindor saw an opportunity to add to the Indians' lead.
Lindor tagged up at third base, watching as the ball flew off Ramirez's bat and fell into the glove of Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. According to Statcast™, Bradley unleashed a 96.9-mph throw from the outfield, firing the baseball 247 feet to catcher Christian Vazquez on one hop. Lindor, sprinting from third base, hit a top speed of 20.8 mph as he closed in on the catcher.
In that moment, Lindor noticed Vazquez moved to the right of the third-base chalk line.
"I saw him going to my right. He went on the other side of the line," said Lindor, who has hit .486 (17-for-35) in his past eight games. "That's why I went inside, and I didn't think he was going to be able to get his body all the way to me."
As Lindor slid headfirst to the inside part of the plate, the young shortstop rolled onto his left side and pulled his right arm into the air. Vazquez received the ball and made a quick move in an effort to apply the tag, but he swung and missed as Lindor touched the dish with his left hand.
After Fairchild called Lindor safe, Boston manager John Farrell moved to the top step of the home dugout, waiting for word from the clubhouse that he should challenge the ruling. That call never came. Lindor simply had pulled off another magic trick.
"Some guys may want to do that," Francona said, "but [they] can't quite get their body to go that way."
Asked about the slide, Indians outfielder Rajai Davis smirked.
"We're talking about the swim move?" Davis said. "That was real beautiful. Actually, I think Dustin Pedroia patented that move. I think he owns the rights to that."
Kipnis was also impressed.
"He's had a couple good slides. We've seen him to do that," Kipnis said. "He makes the slide very hard [for the defender]. He knows with reviews all you have to do is get that finger in there first. He got his whole palm in there before the other guy tagged him. It was a great slide and a big run at the time."
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.