Lindor homers twice to upend Tigers 8-3
DETROIT (AP) — When Francisco Lindor hits a home run, he tries to avoid thinking too much about adding another one.
“I try to focus on either hitting the ball the other way or hitting back up the middle, or doing something to kind of control myself,” the Cleveland shortstop said. “When I try to hit home runs, they don’t go out. I wish they did.”
Whatever his approach, Lindor is certainly a threat to hit the ball a long way, and he went deep twice Friday night to lift the Cleveland Indians to an 8-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers. It was Lindor’s fifth multihomer game of the season, tying him with Manny Machado and Khris Davis for the most in baseball.
“The ball just jumps off his bat,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Fun to watch.”
Yonder Alonso and Brandon Guyer also went deep for the AL Central-leading Indians, who improved to 29-13 against division opponents and extended their lead over second-place Minnesota to eight games. Cleveland scored four runs in the eighth on a tiebreaking single by Alonso and a three-run homer by Guyer.
Victor Martinez hit a solo shot for the Tigers, but All-Star Joe Jimenez (4-2) couldn’t hold off the Indians in the eighth.
Cody Allen (3-4) won in relief.
With runners on first and second and one out in the eighth, Alonso slapped an RBI single to left off Jimenez that put the Indians up 4-3. Left-hander Daniel Stumpf came on for the Tigers, and Cleveland sent Guyer up as a pinch-hitter. He delivered with his fifth homer of the year.
“Joe didn’t throw anything but fastballs out there, and he has to be able to show them something else,” Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said. “It’s a learning experience for him, but the catcher has other fingers. He needs to learn from this, too.”
Lindor added a solo shot in the ninth, his 27th homer of the year.
Carlos Carrasco allowed one earned run in 6 1/3 innings for the Indians. Detroit scored twice in the third after Victor Reyes reached on a throwing error by Alonso, the first baseman. Nicholas Castellanos and Niko Goodrum hit RBI doubles with two outs.
Lindor tied it in the fifth with a two-run shot to right-center. Then Alonso put the Indians ahead with a solo shot in the sixth, only for Martinez to tie it in the bottom half with his sixth home run of the season.
Jimenez allowed a single and a walk to start the eighth. He struck out Edwin Encarnacion, but Alonso’s hit put Cleveland ahead to stay.
Tigers starter Mike Fiers allowed three runs and five hits in six innings.
STRONG IN RELIEF
Francona said before the game he might use Allen in situations other than the ninth inning. “We’re trying to get him on a roll,” the Cleveland manager said.
Sure enough, Allen came in with one on and one out in the seventh and got Jeimer Candelario to hit into a double play. He then got two more outs in the eighth.
“You’ve got guys behind him, where you can do that,” Francona said. “I like the idea of him having to come in and, right now, make a pitch.”
Indians: OF Tyler Naquin was scratched shortly before the game with right hip discomfort. “We got him scanned, and doctors are just not comfortable releasing him to play,” Francona said. “We’re going to send him back to Cleveland and get him worked up there.”… LHP Andrew Miller (right knee inflammation) threw a 35-pitch side session Thursday.
Tigers: Detroit reinstated RHP Johnny Barbato (right shoulder rotator cuff tendinitis) from the DL and optioned him to Triple-A Toledo.
Mike Clevinger (7-6) takes the mound Saturday night for Cleveland against Blaine Hardy (3-3). Francisco Liriano was supposed to start for the Tigers, but Gardenhire said he’s been in the hospital dealing with some sort of allergic reaction.
“He’s OK now and he’ll be here (Saturday), but we’re not going to start him with everything he’s been dealing with today. If he’s fine, we might use him out of the bullpen.”