Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez (11) receives congratulations from shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) after he hits a two run home run in the eighth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Progressive Field. Cleveland won 3-2.
By Jane Lee
CLEVELAND -- Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor propelled his club to a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning of Game 1 in the American League Championship Series on Friday night launching a two-run home run against Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada and the Indians pitching struck out 13 to hold off the Blues Jays at Progressive Field.
The game-changing shot to right-center field, projected to travel 407 feet by Statcast™, came at an opportune time for the Indians, who reached the board first thanks to a gritty effort from ace Corey Kluber.
Kluberstranded seven baserunners through his first six innings. He was brought aboard for one more batter in the seventh, getting Kevin Pillar to ground out, before the Indians summoned their best reliever, left-hander Andrew Miller.
For Lindor, who excitably raced around the bases while flexing his arms for a rowdy Progressive Field crowd, it was his second career postseason home run, his first coming a week ago in an AL Division Series victory over the Red Sox.
The 22-year-old infielder totaled 15 home runs during the regular season, finishing an All-Star campaign with a .301 batting average. On Friday, he picked up two hits in his first three at-bats, the home run magnifying Toronto's inability to capitalize in similar situations.
In five of their first six innings, the Blue Jays put at least one runner on base, going 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position in that span.