CLEVELAND -- Francisco Lindor has been one of the best all-around players in the Majors almost since the day he was called up to the big leagues in June 2015, but playing on baseball's biggest stage can elevate a young star to an even greater level.
If fans outside of Cleveland didn't know who Lindor was before, they had a nice introduction in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night. The dynamic shortstop had three hits and a stolen base, and he was in the middle of much of the scoring that led to the Indians beating the favored Cubs, 6-0.
• Game 2: Tonight, 7 p.m. ET game time on FOX (6 p.m. ET pregame show on FS1)
Lindor was the first of five batters to reach base in the first inning against Cubs lefty Jon Lester, who entered this start 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA (one earned run in 21 innings) in three previous World Series starts, all with the Red Sox.
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Lindor singled up the middle, stole second and eventually scored on a base hit by Jose Ramirez. Lindor also tested Lester's hesitation to make throws to first base, scampering back to first after Lester opted not to try for what appeared to be an easy pickoff.
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"I was just trying to do my job and continue my plan, continue our plan," Lindor said. "I was capable of getting a good pitch to run, I'm glad he bobbled the ball. He got me the second time."
Lindor's caught stealing in the third was the rare blemish in an otherwise sterling performance. The World Series appears to be a continuation of what the 22-year-old began in the first two rounds of the postseason, during which he posted a.323/.344/.581 slash line with an OPS of .924.
Lindor's stolen base in Game 1 was his first of the postseason.
"You got to be smart, you got to know when to run, when not to run and also you don't want to be too anxious," he said. "People probably knew I was going to run, but I didn't want to alert [them] more that I was going to run. I'm just trying to play my game the way I've always played, and, you know, my teammates help me a lot."
Although he's one of the youngest players on the team, Lindor has established himself as one of the Indians' positive leaders. He may be as well-known for his 1,000-watt smile as he is for his baseball abilities, and as the cameras have shown this postseason, Lindor is one of the first players out of the dugout to congratulate a teammate on a job well done.
Lindor could barely contain himself after Roberto Pérez hit his second home run of the night.
"I told him I was proud of how much he's helping us win," Lindor said. "I keep on telling him every time, 'You want to make a name, this is where you do it.' He's stepping up huge, and I told him, 'I'm proud of you, man.'"
So far in this postseason, those same accolades apply to Lindor, too.