Indians shortstop's 2-run double helps fuel win over Royals
By Ben Weinrib
CLEVELAND -- Francisco Lindor is playing the best baseball of his life, and it's coming at just the right time.
Lindor led the Indians with three hits, including a clutch two-run double, in Saturday's 8-4 win over the Royals that helped the Tribe clinch a second straight American League Central title with the Twins' loss to the Blue Jays.
The double also gave Lindor a single-season franchise record with an extra-base hit in 10 consecutive games.
In his last 10 games, Lindor is slashing .463/.500/1.000 with four homers, two triples and six doubles. While much of his power early in the season came from the pull side, one of the best parts of this stretch has been his power to all fields.
"He's using the whole field," manager Terry Francona said. "And he's strong enough, and he's got probably 1,500 at-bats under his belt. So, he knows the league and he understands situations more. That comes with experience. So he's still every bit as dangerous. He just also is finding his hits, spraying the ball around."
Lindor singled and scored in the third inning, but his biggest play came three frames later. With the Indians ahead by a run with two on and two out, Lindor launched a ball at 97.6 mph off the top of the left-field wall, according to Statcast™, for a two-run double that broke open the game.
Lindor's extra-base hit streak is four shy of the Major League mark shared by Chipper Jones and Paul Waner. But Lindor doesn't have time to reflect on personal or team marks right now.
"No, not right now," Lindor said. "We don't want to do that. The season is not over, and our goal is not to beat every streak out there. It's not a goal. Our goal is to go out there and win games, and make it as far as we can in the postseason."
Lindor has been one of the best players in baseball for the past two seasons -- only five players top his 11.8 WAR during that time -- but these incredible stretches don't come as a surprise because of his work ethic.
"You know what's so good about it? He works so hard," Francona said. "I keep saying, 'Frankie needed a day off.' Nope. And there's a reason. Before the day games, he goes out and does his agility work on the field, and he's always ready. Not only for the first pitch, but to go nine and to be ready for whatever comes at him. I mean he's in phenomenal shape right now."
Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. Follow him on Twitter at @benweinrib. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.