OAKLAND -- Francisco Lindor could not quite clear the Coliseum's wall in the third inning on Sunday afternoon. The baseball he launched to left-center struck the green padding with a thud and the Indians' shortstop pulled into second with a double.Lindor had no such issues in the seventh, when he
OAKLAND -- Francisco Lindor could not quite clear the Coliseum's wall in the third inning on Sunday afternoon. The baseball he launched to left-center struck the green padding with a thud and the Indians' shortstop pulled into second with a double.
Lindor had no such issues in the seventh, when he belted a home run out to right field to help the Tribe rout the A's with a 15-3 victory, salvaging a win in the three-game series. The blast came as part of powerful showing from Lindor, who had two of Cleveland's 11 doubles and three of the team's 13 extra-base hits in the overwhelming win.
"He's a threat," Indians veteran outfielder Rajai Davis said of Lindor. "He just knows how to hit and drive the ball a quarter-mile. No matter the ballpark, he makes the ballpark look small. It's amazing. It's impressive. It's fun to watch. A lot of guys wish they could be that kind of hitter, but to watch it, it's amazing."
The 11 doubles by the Indians are the most in a game in the Majors this season and the most in one contest by Cleveland since doubling a club-record 12 times on July 13, 1996, against the Twins. It marked the most doubles in a game for a team in MLB since the Royals had 11 against the Yankees on Aug. 11, 2003. The 11 two-base hits also set a record for one team at the Coliseum.
"It was great," said Lindor, who is the only MLB player this season to have three games with at least two doubles and a homer. "Hopefully, this gets us going in the right direction. Guys were on the right path. Guys felt very comfortable today."
Besides Lindor, the Indians also received two-base hits from Lonnie Chisenhall (two), Jose Ramirez (two), Yonder Alonso (two), Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes and Jason Kipnis. In the seventh inning, Lindor (21 homers this season) and Edwin Encarnacion (20) took things up a notch, with a home run apiece against reliever Yusmeiro Petit.
Cleveland kept its foot on the gas, too.
"You can feel the tide is turning," Chisenhall said. "Guys taste blood. They want to get up there in the box."
The Indians, who managed just 10 runs total over the past five games on this road trip, pushed eight runs across the plate against the Oakland bullpen in the top of the eighth, which lasted nearly 26 minutes. The first 10 batters of the frame reached base, helping transform what had been a relatively close game into a blowout. The Indians were seemingly clinging to a 3-1 lead through six innings, before rolling out a dozen runs over the final three frames.
"At the end," Indians manager Terry Francona said, "the score doesn't really show how close that game was."
Tribe starter Mike Clevinger was not at his best, but the surplus of run support helped the right-hander to his seventh win of the season. Over six-plus innings, Clevinger allowed three runs on eight hits, ending with two walks and five strikeouts.
Lindor's two doubles upped his season total to a team-high 27, which ties the amount Ramirez posted in the first half last year en route to 56 doubles overall (third-most in a season in club history). Lindor, Ramirez (24 homers and 22 doubles) and Boston's Mookie Betts are the only players in MLB to currently have at least 20 homers and 20 two-base hits.
When told that Lindor insists he is not competing against Ramirez, Chisenhall smirked.
"It's not competing, but they know what the other is doing," Chisenhall said. "It's friendly as it can be. They both are hungry. They're both young. They're both continuing to make names for themselves. It's fun to watch."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Davis' double-play dive: With one out and a runner on first in the third inning, Jed Lowrie lofted a pitch from Clevinger over shallow center field. As Mark Canha was going from first to third on the play, Davis sprinted in and made a diving catch to snare the fly ball before it could reach the grass. From his knees, Davis flipped the ball to Kipnis, who tossed it to Alonso at first to double up Canha for an inning-ending double play. Per Statcast™, Davis covered 62 feet in 4.1 seconds for the three-star catch (72 percent catch probability).
"That could've been different right there for them winning this game," Davis said. "Making that play and getting out of that inning, as opposed to being first and third, one out, or whatever it may have been, with their guys coming up, that's a play that you want to make. I'm glad I was able to make it."
Quick pick:Marcus Semien tried to start a rally for Oakland in the second with a one-out single to center off Clevinger. Then, after working to a 1-2 count against Jonathan Lucroy, Clevinger fired a throw to first, where Semien was caught flat-footed. Alonso gloved the ball and applied a swift tag before Semien could retreat. Clevinger followed with a strikeout of Lucroy to end the fram. Clevinger ranks fourth in the Majors with four pickoffs this season.
"Baseball's a huge momentum sport, I think," Clevinger said. "Anytime you get that pendulum to swing your way on any event, especially something like that -- you get two outs and the bases are clean -- you get more energy out of that."
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
After the A's pushed two runs across in the seventh, reliever Neil Ramirez faced a runner-on-first, two-out situation. On a pitch in the dirt to Lowrie, Canha sprinted from first to second and Gomes made a quick throw to Lindor at the bag. At nearly the same time Canha's left hand reached the base, Lindor slapped a tag on the runner's arm. Second-base umpire Lance Barrett called Canha out and Lindor pumped a fist hard in celebration. The A's challenged the inning-ending call, which stood following a replay review, eliciting loud boos from the Oakland crowd.
"Gomer, I thought coming out and making that throw in the seventh [was huge]," Francona said. "They challenged it and we got out of the inning. At the time, it's a two-run game and they're coming at us pretty good. That slowed everything down."
The Indians have three players with 20-plus homers (Lindor, Ramirez and Encarnacion) before the All-Star break for the first time since 2001, when Ellis Burks, Juan Gonzalez and Jim Thome achieved the feat. That was the only other such occurrence in Indians franchise history.
According to the Indians, Lindor, Ramirez and Encarnacion are the fastest trio in MLB to reach 20 homers apiece since 2006, when Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko and Thome did it in 80 games for the White Sox. The Tribe trio accomplished the feat in 82 games.
HE SAID IT
"He's a fantastic hitter from both sides of the plate. He can change the game with one swing, he can change a game with his legs and he can change it with his glove." -- Francona, on Lindor
"That was huge. He joked with me, he was like, 'Yeah, I knew how much time I had. I had to sit back on that one.' I was like, 'I was holding my breath!'" -- Clevinger, on Davis' diving grab
Right-hander Corey Kluber (11-4, 2.54 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Tribe on Monday, when the Royals host the Indians in an 8:15 p.m. ET tilt at Kauffman Stadium. The Cleveland ace spun seven shutout innings against Kansas City on May 13, but has gone 1-2 with a 6.59 ERA in his last three starts. The Royals will counter with righty Jakob Junis (5-9, 4.67 ERA).
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.