Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor made his chance at redemption count against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.
After committing a throwing error that allowed the Rangers take a lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, Lindor delivered in a big way when he belted the go-ahead grand slam into the seats in right field at Globe Life Park in the top of the ninth, a home run that gave the Indians a 9-6 win over Texas.
Lindor turned on a 1-1 pitch over the plate and smashed the offering from Rangers (0-3) closer Sam Dyson inside the foul pole for his first career grand slam at the Major League level, and that secured a three-game sweep for the Indians (3-0).
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 field. 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 up Lindor’s blast.
The Rangers got things going in the bottom of the first inning when right fielder Nomar Mazara belted a two-run home run to left field. Shin-Soo Choo, a one-time Indians outfielder, was on base with a walk and came around to score on the round-tripper.
The Indians responded with a pair of runs of their own in the top of the fourth inning.
Santana began the rally with a single to deep left field on the first pitch of the frame, and Lindor followed up with a single of his own to left field. Following a pop out from left fielder Brandon Guyer and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, second baseman Jose Ramirez delivered a two-run single to right-center field.
The rally short-circuited when Ramirez was thrown out at second base trying to stretch the single into a double.
The Indians kept things rolling in the fifth inning when catcher Roberto Perez lifted an RBI sacrifice fly to left field and drove in Diaz. Diaz singled to center field to start the inning and moved over to second base on a throwing error from Rangers starter Cole Hamels.
While the Indians took a lead in the top of the fifth inning, the Rangers had quite an adequate response in the bottom of the frame.
Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy singled to right field to start the inning and moved over to second base when right fielder Joey Gallo drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch from Indians starter Danny Salazar.
After getting shortstop Elvis Andrus and designated hitter Delino DeShields to strike and foul out, respectively, Salazar had Choo in an 0-2 hole after he swung and missed at two offerings, but then, a throwing error from Lindor on a fielder’s choice allowed Lucroy and Gallo to score.
Mazara brought around the third run when he singled home Choo on a hit to center field.
Down by a 5-3 count after the Rangers’ big inning, the Indians got a run back in the top of the sixth when Lindor drilled a one-out solo home run to left field. Following the blast, the Indians got the next two hitters on base when Guyer was hit by a pitch and Encarnacion drew a walk, but back-to-back line outs ended the threat.
The Rangers added an insurance run when Andrus smashed a solo home run to left field in the bottom of the seventh inning.
In his first start of the season, Salazar allowed five hits and five runs, four of which were earned, to go along with four walks against nine strikeouts over 5.2 innings of work. Salazar located the strike zone on 64 of his 102 pitches.
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