SAN JUAN, P.R.– What a way to kick off the Puerto Rico Series.
On Tuesday night, the Cleveland Indians topped the Minnesota Twins in the first game of a two-game set, 6-1.
Corey Kluber earned his second win of the year, and Francisco Lindor provided fans with the biggest moment of the game with a two-run homer in the fifth inning.
Here are three takeaways from the win.
1. “Paquito’s” two-run bomb
In the first at-bat of the game, Francisco Lindor (or Paquito as he is called in Puerto Rico) received an ovation after flying out to the warning track. From the opening moments of the game, expectations were high for one of Puerto Rico’s own, and he did not disappoint.
With two outs in the fifth inning, Lindor launched a 3-2 pitch from Minnesota’s Jake Odorizzi to deep right field. The ball narrowly made it over the wall, giving the Indians a 2-0 lead and sending Hiram Bithorn stadium into a frenzy.
As Lindor rounded first, he saluted first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. Heading home, he encouraged the crowd to cheer even louder than they already were by pumping his fists in the air. As he went into the dugout the crowd continued chanting “Lindor!,” and just moments later he obliged them by coming out of the dugout to once again wave.
If you have been halfway paying attention, you know how much these two games meant to both Francisco Lindor and the fans in Puerto Rico. As a result, there may not be a more emotionally-charged moment in this series.
We're not crying; you're cr– …
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) April 18, 2018
2. Opening the floodgates
Lindor’s two-run shot was a big moment that really just got the Indians rolling against Odorizzi.
In the sixth inning, Jose Ramirez, much like Lindor, sent a full count pitch over the right field wall. Michael Brantley followed up Ramirez by launching the first pitch of his at-bat over the center field wall to give the Indians a 4-0 lead and end Odorizzi’s night.
The Tribe scored their two remaining runs in the seventh and eighth innings. Brantley struck again as an RBI single plated Jason Kipnis. Yonder Alonso then recorded the Tribe’s fourth home run of the game on a 2-2 pitch that went clear over the right field foul pole and gave the Indians a 6-1 lead.
3. KKKKKKluber Day
Corey Kluber had another stellar outing (surprise, surprise) getting his second win of the year. In six and two-thirds innings of work, the Tribe ace struck out six batters while giving up just five hits, one earned run and two walks.
Kluber exited the game in the seventh after giving up an RBI double to Brian Dozier, and with Joe Mauer (who has historically had some success going up against Kluber) due up for the Twins.
Andrew Miller came in and got the Tribe out of the inning by striking out Miguel Sano.
With the win, Kluber’s ERA drops to 1.52.