The Cleveland Indians were down, but far from out when taking on the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas Wednesday night.
Down by a pair of runs after shortstop Francisco Lindor committed an error in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Indians responded with a five-run effort in the top of the ninth that sealed a 9-6 comeback victory over the Rangers, a win that completed the three-game sweep to start the 2017 season.
“I think they understand that sometimes, you’ve just got to give yourself a chance,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
“For the very most part, they all really like to play. Nobody’s dying to get out of here, get on a flight. They knew our bullpen. We were a couple guys short, and that was okay. You’re not going to win those very much, but if you give it a shot and you keep fighting, you’ll win them every once in a while.”
Although Lindor made the error that put the Indians behind, he delivered some redemption later in the game.
During the top of the ninth inning, Lindor turned on a 1-1 pitch over the plate and smashed the offering from Rangers closer Sam Dyson inside the foul pole for his first career Major League grand slam.
Indians third baseman Yandy Diaz got the ninth-inning rally going when he smacked a leadoff single to center field, which outfielder Tyler Naquin followed up with a single of his own to left. After a lineout from catcher Yan Gomes, outfielder Abraham Almonte drew a walk to load the bases.
Designated hitter Carlos Santana followed with an RBI walk with the bases loaded, which set the table for Lindor’s blast.
“I thought he’s been patient,” Francona said of Almonte. “The games he’s played, he’s been real patient, not going out of the zone very often. Again, everybody will remember Frankie and the ball he hit, as they should, but there were a lot of good things that led up to that.”
With the completion of the three-game sweep of the Rangers, the Indians are off to their best first-week start since 1998.
“I was just hoping we’d win today,” Francona said. “That’s kind of how we usually go about it. Three games is not a…it’s just three games, and normally, we just try to show up and win. You do that well enough, maybe guys like you will be asking questions like that.”
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