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Lindor's home run sparks Tribe past Twins

By PAUL HOYNES • Apr 17, 2018 at 10:49 PM

SAN JUAN, P.R. — It was a sound that crowds usually don't make. It was if nearly 20,000 voices sucked air deep into their lungs and then exhaled in a giant whoosh. It almost popped the eardrums.

When Francisco Lindor came to the plate in the fifth inning Tuesday night, he wasn't playing around. And he wasn't trying to punch one through the right side of the infield against Jake Odorizzi at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. There were two out and Bradley Zimmer had just hit his second straight double. Lindor was going for it all.

He took a called strike and then swung hard, finding nothing but air, on the next pitch. Lindor calmed down and took three straight balls. But on Odorizzi's next pitch, he swung from the soles of his specially-designed cleats for the Puerto Rican Series — they bore the colors of island (red, white and blue) — and hit a curveball over the right field wall to lead the Indians to a 6-1 win over the Twins.

The whoosh and a lot more followed.

First the crowd of his countrymen chanted "Lindor, Lindor, Lindor." He came out of the dugout for a curtain call and the volume increased.

Then, after the fuse had been lit, the Indians started to hit and didn't stop. Jose Ramirez and Michael Brantley started the sixth with homers. It was the first time the Indians have hit consecutive homers this season. Ramirez hit a 3-2 pitch into the right field seats and Brantley followed with a first-pitch homer in the same location.

It ended Odorizzi's night after he opened the game with four scoreless innings.

The Indians made it 5-0 in the seventh on three consecutive two-out singles by Jason Kipnis, Ramirez and Brantley. Kipnis scored on Brantley's single.

Yonder Alonso, born in nearby Cuba, made it 6-1 with a leadoff homer in the eighth.

Corey Kluber, on seven days' rest, started for the Indians and held the Twins to on run in 6 2/3 innings. Kluber (2-1, 1.52) struck out six and walked two in his first start since April 9. He was scheduled to start Saturday and Sunday at Progressive Field, but both games were rained out.

The Indians had gone three days without playing and didn't do much until Lindor's two-run homer. The Twins, who have played the fewest games in the big leagues, had gone four days without playing a game and looked stale.

Then again, it might have been the heat. Minnesota was snowed out of three straight games over the weekend at Target Field before boarding a flight for the Caribbean.

What it means

This was the first regular season game the Indians played outside the continental United States and Canada.

The pitches

Odorizzi threw 97 pitches, 58 (60 percent) for strikes. Kluber threw 104 pitches, 69 (66 percent) for strikes.

Thanks for coming

The Indians and Twins drew 19,516 fans to Hiram Bithorn Stadium on Tuesday night. First pitch was at 7:10 p.m. with a temperature of 78 degrees.

Up next

Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (3-0, 3.48) will face the Twins and Jose Berrios (2-1, 2.18) at 7:10 p.m. tonight at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan. ESPN will televise the game.

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