In spring training he petitioned manager Terry Francona to bat him leadoff because he felt he was born to push the ignition button on this offense. Well, he hasn't just pushed the button, he's close to reinventing it.
Lindor, for the seventh time this season, started a game with a home run. But he didn't stop there Thursday night at Rogers Centre, he homered in his next at-bat as as well and added a two-run single just for kicks as the Indians beat Toronto, 9-4, to reduce their magic number to clinch the AL Central to seven over the idle Twins.
It was the sixth multi-homer game of the season for Lindor. They've all come out of the leadoff spot, marking the first time that's happened in big-league history, according to STATS by STATS.
Lindor opened the game with a homer to center on a 2-0 pitch from Sam Gaviglio (3-8, 5.25). He did it again to Gaviglio in the third, this time waiting to the count was full. It was Lindor's 33rd homer of the season and gave the Indians a 2-0 lead.
The Blue Jays, 3-8 in their last 11 games, came back against Shane Bieber (9-3, 4.63) to take a 4-2 lead in the fourth. Teoscar Hernandez's two-run double was the big hit in the inning.
The Indians bounced back with three runs in the fifth to take a 5-4 lead. Yan Gomes reached on a slow rolling single down the third baseline and Greg Allen followed with a single to left. Brandon Guyer doubled home Gomes as Jose Fernandez relieved Gaviglio to face Lindor.
Lindor sent a broken-bat single into left field to score Allen and Guyer for a 5-4 lead. The switch-hitting shortstop went 4-for-5 with three runs and four RBI. For the season he's hitting .288 with 33 homers, 84 RBI and 117 runs.
The Indians used an unearned run to stretch the lead to 6-4 in the sixth. Edwin Encarnacion singled to start the inning, but should have been erased on a double play grounder off the bat Alonso. Second baseman Devon Travis threw the ball away to put runners at first and second. Allen doubled home Encarnacion.
A three-run homer by Jason Kipnis in the ninth put the Tribe's 80th win of the season under lock and key. It was Kipnis' 15th homer.
Bieber, thanks to his offense, was able to pitch into the seventh inning. He allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. He stuck out six, walked one and rebounded from his loss to the Rays in his last start.
What it means
The Indians entered Thursday night's game trailing AL West leading Houston for the right to host the ALDS by 7 1/2 games. The Astros, winners of five straight, were idle Thursday before opening a three-game series against Boston at Fenway Park on Friday night.
Gaviglio threw 72 pitches, 44 (61 percent) for strikes. Bieber threw 89 pitches, 62 (70 percent) for strikes.
Thanks for coming
The Indians and Blue Jays drew 20,618 to Rogers Centre on Thursday night. First pitch was at 7:05 p.m. with a temperature of 77 degrees. The roof was open.
Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (16-8, 3.52) will face the Blue Jays and Marco Estrada (7-11, 4.53) at 7:07 p.m. tonight. SportsTime Ohio, WTAM-1100 and WMMS-100.7 will carry the game.
This will be Carrasco's second start against the Jays this year. He's 3-1 with a 5.60 ERA against them in his career.