The Cleveland Indians narrowly avoided an embarrassing loss Thursday night, and all it took was a historic night from their franchise player.
In the series opener against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field, the Indians jumped out to an early 8-0 lead thanks an all-out offensive attack. Five of the top six hitters in the lineup drove in at least one run before the end of the fourth inning. Among them: Francisco Lindor. He clubbed a three-run home run in the third.
An 8-0 lead after four innings should equal an easy win. Should. On Thursday night, it did not. The Twins came storming back in the middle innings against rookie righty Shane Bieber -- Bieber made his MLB debut in the game -- and the perpetually leaky Cleveland bullpen.
Back-to-back home runs by Logan Morrison and Eduardo Escobar got the Twins going in the sixth inning, then, in the seventh, Miguel Sano hit a game-tying three-run home run again Zach McAllister. The Indians' 8-0 lead had officially disappeared.
The 8-8 tie lasted two batters. With one out in the top of the eighth, Lindor came to the rescue with a solo home run against Addison Reed. That gave the Indians a 9-8 lead, a lead Evan Marshall and Cody Allen were able to protect. Allen picked up a four-out save. Somehow, it was only his third of save of at least four outs this year. Feels like he should have 15.
Here's the video of Lindor's game-winning home run:
All told, Lindor went 4 for 5 with two doubles and two home runs Thursday. He scored three runs and drove in four. Lindor, Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, and Colorado Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu are the only players with multiple doubles and multiple home runs in a game this season.
Know what the crazy thing is? This is Lindor's second multi-double, multi-homer game of 2018. He did it against the Kansas City Royals on May 12 as well. He is only the fourth player in history to have two homers and two doubles in a game twice in a single season.
Francisco Lindor joins Adrian Beltre (2007), Jim Edmonds (2003) and Rafael Palmeiro (1993) as the only players in recorded MLB history with two homers and two doubles in a game twice in the same season.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) June 1, 2018
It's only May 31, remember. The Indians still have another 107 games to play this year. Lindor will have plenty of chances to try to become the only player in MLB history with three multi-double, multi-homer games in a single season. That'd be fun.
Thursday's game improved Lindor's overall season batting line to .311/.383/.579 with 19 doubles and 14 home runs. Also, the Indians have now won six consecutive games, and they've scored at least seven runs in all six games. Their offense was dormant the first few weeks of 2018. Safe to say it's back on track now.