Prior to the All-Star Break, the Cleveland Indians struggled mightily at Progressive Field, so much so that they had one of the worst records at home in the MLB. Sitting atop the American League Central, if they were to turn it around at home in the second half of the season, they will most likely run away with the Central division. In there first two games back at Progressive Field following the break, they have done just that. On Friday, they dominated the Blue Jays, 13-3, including an scoring eight runs in the seventh inning. But, Saturday’s nights heroics were what mattered most.
In his first game back with the Indians since going on the disabled list, Danny Salazar dominated Toronto, throwing seven scoreless innings while allowing just one hit and striking out eight batters, some of which looked lost at the plate because of just how well Salazar pitched. To finish the night off, Francisco Lindor hit a walk-off home run to give the Indians a 2-1 win and their second-straight win over Toronto.
Let’s take a look at some of the top highlights:
Of his eight strikeouts, two were against Josh Donaldson, who has been one of the best hitters in baseball over the last few years. The third baseman just stood there in disbelief that Salazar’s stuff was just that good in his first game back.
To get the scoring started, Edwin Encarnacion followed up his three-hit, four-RBI game Friday night with an RBI groundout Saturday night, the only run of the game for the Indians prior to the walk-off.
Along with Urshela, Bradley Zimmer has been quite impressive in center field since being called up from the Clippers. He’s so fast that he makes tough plays look easy and covers so much space in the outfield as well. This time, it was a sliding catch in shallow center.
He may still have to find his rhythm at the plate, but Giovanny Urshela has been nothing short of impressive in the field since being called up from Columbus. On Saturday night, he had a very nice barehanded play.
The phrase may be “Don’t run on Yan Gomes” when opposing players try to steal bases, but the same can be said when they try to get that extra base against Michael Brantley. With Cody Allen struggling to find the strike zone in the ninth inning, Dr. Smooth threw out Darwin Barney when the Blue Jay was trying to tag from first to second base. Knowing that Barney may try to tag and get 90 feet closer to home, Brantley – the veteran that he is – got all of his weight back and ready prior to the catch.
Plenty of Indians fans may hate on Bryan Shaw, but Saturday night, he was able to force a groundout to Carlos Santana with two guys on base to end the threat in the 10th inning and set up the heroics in the bottom of the 10th.
Last but certainly not least, with the rain starting to come down in Progressive Field, Francisco Lindor hit a no-doubt-about-it walk-off home run, the first walk-off at home since Cleveland’s home opener. The home run was good, but the celebration following it was the best.
For those that want to listen to Tom Hamilton call Lindor’s walk-off, we have you covered:
Frankie Lindor's walk-off home run, brought to you by Tom Hamilton. pic.twitter.com/fNE6WLcwqx
— Josh Poloha (@JorshP) July 23, 2017
Hopefully, this is just the game that the Indians need to dominate the second half of the season.