CLEVELAND -- 2019 was the year of the home run across Major League baseball. In the last few days of the regular season, the Indians broke their single-season home run record with 222 on a Jordan Luplow blast in Washington. But just because there were more round-trippers this past year
CLEVELAND -- 2019 was the year of the home run across Major League baseball. In the last few days of the regular season, the Indians broke their single-season home run record with 222 on a Jordan Luplow blast in Washington. But just because there were more round-trippers this past year than any other doesn’t mean the excitement over the play has faded.
With the decade coming to a close, MLB.com has reminisced on the best games, players and defensive plays that happened in the past 10 years. Now, it’s time to remember some of the most dramatic moments with 10 of the best home runs hit since 2010.
1. Davis’ game-tying blast
Nov. 2, 2016
When you ask Indians fans to recall their favorite moments in franchise history, Rajai Davis’ name will likely come up. It was Game 7 of the 2016 World Series and the Indians trailed the Cubs by three runs entering the eighth inning. After Brandon Guyer knocked in a run on a double against Aroldis Chapman, Davis ripped a 98-mph fastball over the left-field wall, sending Progressive Field into a frenzy. Even though the Cubs roared back in the 10th to win following a 17-minute rain delay, Davis noted after the game that it was one of the most thrilling moments in his career.
2. Lindor brings fireworks to native country
April 17, 2018
Tucked away in the back corner of the Indians' home clubhouse, a Puerto Rican flag hangs above Francisco Lindor’s locker. The Tribe’s All-Star shortstop beams with pride of his country and nothing could’ve been more special than his two-run home run in his native land. In 2018, the Tribe traveled to Puerto Rico to play the Twins in San Juan, and the hometown kid did not disappoint. Lindor broke the scoreless tie in the fifth inning with a two-run shot that gave the Indians a lead they would not relinquish. The crowd erupted as he rounded the bases, searching the crowd for his mother in his final steps before home plate. The frenzied fans in attendance gave Lindor no other option but to oblige them with a curtain call.
3. Naquin’s inside-the-parker
Aug. 19, 2016
It’s arguably the most exciting play in baseball. The Indians were tied at 2 with the Blue Jays in the bottom of the ninth when Tyler Naquin launched a ball off the right-field wall that trickled away from Melvin Upton Jr. He raced out of the batter’s box and never took the foot off the gas pedal. Naquin rounded third, lost his helmet and dove into home plate in time to end the game in walk-off fashion. Struggling to catch his breath, Naquin then leaped to his feet and thrust his arm high above his head as his teammates rushed out to celebrate.
4. Lindor’s grand slam vs. Yankees in ALDS
Oct. 6, 2017
Indians manager Terry Francona told Lindor that it was his job to make sure the team didn’t crumble. The Tribe lost Edwin Encarnación to a left ankle sprain in the first inning and the club’s skipper put his trust in Lindor to keep the team going, even if it was facing a five-run deficit. And Francona’s shortstop delivered. The Yankees’ lead was trimmed to one run in the sixth inning after Lindor blasted a grand slam that clanked off the foul pole in right field. The man they call “Mr. Smile” trotted around the bases, screaming “Let’s go!” as he led his teammates to take Game 2 in 13 innings.
5. Giambi’s pinch-hit walk-off homer
Sept. 24, 2013
Cleveland was in the heat of its first winning season in six years. In the throes of a Wild Card race, the 42-year-old Jason Giambi was sent to the plate in place of Matt Carson with a runner on first in the bottom of the ninth. The Indians trailed the White Sox by one when Giambi launched a walk-off homer to allow the Tribe to hold on to the second AL Wild Card spot. It was the club’s fifth consecutive victory before going on to win out through the remainder of its schedule, coming out on top in its last 10 games.
6. Hafner launches walk-off grand slam
July 7, 2011
“If that doesn’t give you goosebumps, you don’t have a pulse.” These were the words said by Indians radio play-by-play announcer Tom Hamilton as Travis Hafner entered the dogpile at home plate. The Tribe was down 4-0 entering the bottom of the ninth inning against the Blue Jays, but managed to load the bases with no outs against Frank Francisco. Following Asdrúbal Cabrera's RBI single, Hafner absolutely demolished a ball to deep right field to give his team a 5-4 victory.
Aug. 11, 2019
The Indians were on a mission to erase what was an 11 1/2-game deficit on June 4 and they had the chance to escape Minnesota with a share of the lead in the American League Central, but closer Brad Hand blew a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth and the game went to extra innings. However, the Indians were not yet ready to give up on their mission. Cleveland loaded the bases with no outs for Carlos Santana, who had carried the team all season. With one swing of the bat, Santana propelled the Indians to a 7-3 victory at Target Field and brought them to a tie for the AL Central lead.
8. Lindor homers with Almonte’s bat
Sept. 10, 2017
You don’t get to 22 consecutive wins without a few clutch homers, and Lindor was almost impossible to cool down along the way. The shortstop had been a force for the Indians for the first 17 games of the streak and was ready to help lift them to win No. 18 … no matter whose bat was in his hands. Lindor was walking up to the plate when he realized the bat he was holding was not his own. Abraham Almonte had handed him the wrong piece of lumber, one that was heavier and thicker than the one Lindow was used to. “I’m like, ‘No, there’s no chance,’” Lindor said. But the bat didn’t hold him back: Lindor launched the decisive home run in a 3-2 win over the Orioles that pushed the club’s winning streak to 18.
9. Pérez’s two-homer night in 2016 World Series
Oct. 25, 2016
Roberto Pérez took over the catching duties in July after Yan Gomes went down with an injury. The backup was already known as one of the best defensive catchers in the game, but his offense was lacking. After hitting just three homers in 61 regular-season games, Pérez nearly matched that total in Game 1 of the World Series. In the fourth inning against the Cubs, he squeaked a solo shot over the left-field wall by inches that gave starter Corey Kluber a three-run lead. Then, Pérez put the contest out of reach in the eighth with a three-run bomb to left-center field to become the first Indians player to hit two homers in a World Series game.
10. Thome homers in second game back with Tribe
Aug. 27, 2011
For the first time in nine years, Jim Thome was back with the Indians. The Hall of Famer left Cleveland in 2003 after 12 seasons and played for the Phillies, White Sox and Twins. Then, in the middle of the '11 season, he was traded from Minnesota back to the Tribe. In just his second game back, Thome, a man who began his career in Cleveland at 21 years of age, launched his first home run with the club in nearly a decade to celebrate his 41st birthday.
Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.