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Cleveland Indians show support for social justice during national anthem, defeat Pittsburgh Pirates in exhibition game

Christian Arroyo and Yu Chang put the Tribe on top for good in the 8th inning with RBI doubles.
Credit: AP
Members of the Cleveland Indians line up for the national anthem before an exhibition baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Saturday, July 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

PITTSBURGH — The Cleveland Indians made a very public show of support for social justice before their 5-3 exhibition win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.

The Indians stood with their right hands over their hearts and their left hands on the right shoulder of their teammates during the national anthem. Shortstop Francisco Lindor says the display was a sign of support for social justice. Lindor says the team held a lengthy meeting about what to do and came up with a plan they believe helps the call attention to the situation without being disrespectful to the American flag. 

The game at PNC Park was one of three exhibition games being played as Major League Baseball got its first look at coronavirus-era games, fake crowd noise and all. Still, for clubs limited to practices and intrasquads in their own ballparks for the past two weeks, Saturday stood as an important mile marker as baseball tries to start a shortened 60-game season next Thursday amid a pandemic.

Once the action got underway, the Indians offense was held in check until the bottom of the eighth inning, when Christian Arroyo hit a game-tying, 3-run double. Yu Chang followed with an RBI double to score Arroyo and put the Tribe on top for good.

In the 9th inning, Greg Allen provided an insurance run with an RBI single to plate Daniel Johnson. 

Zach Plesac worked five innings in his start for the Indians, allowing two runs on six hits with six strikeouts and no walks. Dom Leone, Cam Hill, and Phil Maton each threw a scoreless inning in relief. Leone was credited for the win and Maton recorded the save. 

The Indians and Pirates will meet again in exhibition play on Monday evening.

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