Lindor picks up Indians
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.
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.
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.