Lin­dor picks up In­di­ans

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS -

IN­DI­ANS 8, ROYALS 4

CLEVE­LAND — Francisco Lin­dor planned to pour a bot­tle of wa­ter over his head. To­day, he’ll switch to cham­pagne.

For the sec­ond year in a row, the Cleve­land In­di­ans are AL Central cham­pi­ons.

A few hours after they beat Kansas City 8-4 in the first game since the Royals stopped their AL record win­ning streak at 22, the In­di­ans clinched the di­vi­sion ti­tle when sec­ond-place Min­nesota lost to Toronto.

When their sec­ond crown be­came of­fi­cial, the In­di­ans were long gone from Pro­gres­sive Field, leav­ing the ball­park to spend time with fam­ily or toast a mem­o­rable week. In Lin­dor’s case, he was set to eat pizza and watch the boxing match be­tween Gen­nady Golovkin and Canelo Al­varez.

Lin­dor said if the Twins lost he would dump wa­ter on him­self be­fore fo­cus­ing on the fight.

The bout fig­ured to be close. The In­di­ans knocked out the Twins, Royals, Tigers and Chicago White Sox.

But a di­vi­sion crown is only the first step for the In­di­ans, whose mis­sion is to win the World Se­ries after com­ing so close last year. From the mo­ment they lost to the Chicago Cubs in seven games, the In­di­ans have been fo­cused on get­ting back. Cleve­land hasn’t won a Se­ries ti­tle since 1948, base­ball’s long­est drought.

“Our goal is to go out there and win games and make it to the post­sea­son and make it as far as we can in the post­sea­son,” said Lin­dor, who set a club record by get­ting an ex­tra-base hit in his 10th con­sec­u­tive

game. “That’s our goal. It doesn’t mat­ter what I do or what we did in the past.”

Man­ager Terry Fran­cona’s team will fi­nally get to spray cham­pagne inside its own park fol­low­ing to­day’s se­ries fi­nale. Last year, Cleve­land won the di­vi­sion and ended two play­off se­ries on the road, so this year’s cel­e­bra­tion is long over­due.

This is the In­di­ans’ ninth Central ti­tle and the first time they’ve won con­sec­u­tive di­vi­sion ti­tles since 1999, when they fin­ished a run of five con­sec­u­tive first-place fin­ishes with dom­i­nant teams. None of those teams won the Se­ries, either.

While Cleve­land’s his­toric win­ning streak is no longer the talk of base­ball, Lin­dor is on a per­sonal roll that’s be­come no­table.

The All-Star’s dou­ble in the sixth off Ja­son Ham­mel (8-12) gave him an ex­tra-base hit in 10 con­sec­u­tive games — a club record and four shy of the ma­jor league mark of 14, shared by Chip­per Jones (2006) and Paul Waner (1927).

Car­los Car­rasco (16-6) pitched into the sev­enth and Ed­win En­car­na­cion hit his 35th home run as the In­di­ans im­proved to 32-5 in their last 37 games.

Alex Gor­don con­nected for the Royals, whose wild-card hopes took an­other blow and couldn’t stay close to the In­di­ans.

Fol­low­ing Fri­day’s 4-3 loss, the In­di­ans were warmly saluted by their fans, who gave them a rous­ing stand­ing ova­tion in ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the long­est win streak base­ball has seen since the 1916 New York Giants won 26 in a row.

The sen­sa­tional Lin­dor is lead­ing their charge.

With the In­di­ans up by a run and with two on in the sixth, Lin­dor dou­bled high off the left-field wall to make it 5-2. It was Lin­dor’s 40th dou­ble and broke a tie with Hal Trosky, who hit either a dou­ble, triple or home run in nine con­sec­u­tive games for Cleve­land in 1934.

ASTROS 8, MARINERS 6 Dal­las Keuchel

(Arkansas Ra­zor­backs) threw 6 solid in­nings, Car­los Bel­tran had 3 hits and 2 RBI and the Astros low­ered their magic num­ber for clinch­ing the AL West ti­tle to 1.

YANKEES 9, ORIOLES 3 Didi Gre­go­rius and Greg Bird hit home runs for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive game, rookie Jor­dan Mont­gomery pitched six shutout in­nings and the host Yankees won their fourth con­sec­u­tive game.

RED SOX 3, RAYS 1 Rick Por­cello took a shutout into the eighth in­ning, Mookie Betts hit his 22nd home run and the Red Sox won for the eighth time in 10 games.

AN­GELS 2, RANGERS 0 Justin Up­ton hit two home runs, Parker Brid­well out­pitched Cole Hamels and host Los Angeles moved up in the Amer­i­can League wild-card race, beat­ing Texas.

WHITE SOX 10, TIGERS 4 Matt David­son and Nicky Del­monico home­red, Tim An­der­son had four hits and the White Sox cap­tured their sea­son se­ries with the Tigers for the first time since 2008. BLUE JAYS 7, TWINS 2 Marco Estrada pitched eight ef­fi­cient in­nings, Josh Don­ald­son home­red twice among his four hits and Toronto topped host Min­nesota. Estrada (9-8) gave up two runs.

NA­TIONAL LEAGUE

CUBS 4, CAR­DI­NALS 1 Kyle Hen­dricks pitched six-hit ball into the eighth in­ning, Ad­di­son Rus­sell home­red and the host Cubs earned their fifth con­sec­u­tive vic­tory. Al­bert Almora Jr. had 3 hits and 2 RBI for Chicago, which in­creased its Na­tional League Central lead to 31/2 games over Mil­wau­kee and 5 bet­ter than St. Louis.

DODGERS 3, NA­TION­ALS 2 Cody Bellinger hit his 38th home run to match the Na­tional League sin­gle-sea­son record for rook­ies, and the vis­it­ing Dodgers moved closer to the Na­tional

League West ti­tle.

REDS 2, PI­RATES 1 Sal Ro­mano pitched a ca­reer-high eight shutout in­nings and Jesse Winker home­red, lead­ing host Cincin­nati to the vic­tory.

MARLINS 7, BREW­ERS 4 Derek Di­et­rich hit a two-run home run, Adam Con­ley pitched into the sixth in­ning and Mi­ami beat Mil­wau­kee to stop a six-game slide. Con­ley (7-7) al­lowed 3 runs and 5 hits in 52/3 in­nings in the sec­ond game of a se­ries re­lo­cated from Mi­ami to Mil­wau­kee be­cause of the af­ter­math of Hur­ri­cane Irma. METS 7, BRAVES 3 Ja­cob deGrom set a ca­reer high in vic­to­ries, Do­minic Smith and Gavin Cec­chini each drove in two runs and vis­it­ing New York snapped a five-game skid with a vic­tory over At­lanta.

ROCK­IES 16, PADRES 0 Tyler An­der­son pitched six in­nings in his first start since re­turn­ing from left knee surgery, Char­lie Black­mon set an Na­tional League sea­son record for RBI by a lead­off man, and host Colorado beat San Diego.

DIAMONDBACKS 2, GIANTS 0 Zack Greinke pitched eight in­nings of two-hit ball and Paul Gold­schmidt hit a two-run home run as vis­it­ing Ari­zona de­feated San Francisco.

INTERLEAGUE

PHILLIES 5, ATH­LET­ICS 3 Jorge Al­faro home­red and Philadel­phia’s re­liev­ers pitched six strong in­nings after a rain de­lay to lead the Phillies over vis­it­ing Oak­land.

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