SEATTLE (AP) – Now that he’s set a Cleveland record for home runs by a middle infielder, Francisco Lindor would rather remember 2017 for a far bigger accomplishment.
Lindor led off the game with his 33rd home run, and the Indians routed the Seattle Mariners 11-4 Saturday for their 28th victory in 30 games.
”It’s cool. Something that’ll be there for a long time,” Lindor said, ”but I’m just focusing on trying to win. When you focus on winning, those things happen.”
Cleveland, which set the AL record with a 22-game winning streak this month, matched the 1884 Providence Grays for the best big league record over a 30-game span at 28-2. The Indians (97-58) lead Houston (95-59) for AL home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Lindor, a 23-year-old shortstop, homered on the eighth pitch from Andrew Moore (1-5) and surpassed the 32 home runs hit by second baseman Joe Gordon in 1948, the last year Cleveland won the World Series.
Lindor began the year without power expectations.
”I envisioned myself driving the ball,” he said. ”Going 30 times, 33, 34 or 20 times, doesn’t matter to me, as long as I’m helping my team win.”
”I like leading off,” Lindor said. ”I get to see what the pitcher is going to bring that day. I like getting things going.”
Seattle, which won 3-1 Friday, committed five errors and lost for the seventh time in eight games. The Mariners fell six games behind Minnesota for the second AL wild card with seven games left.
”I’m disappointed. … We just didn’t respond today,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. ”It was about catching the baseball and doing things right fundamentally. We haven’t done that. We’ve struggled with that. That’s one area we need to address here as we go forward.”
Nelson Cruz hit his 37th home run for Seattle, his fourth in four games. Mariners shortstop Jean Segura was hit in the hand by a thrown ball in the ninth and was removed. X-rays were negative.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona is focused on both home-field advantage and preparing the AL Central champions for the Division Series.
”We’re trying put a lineup out there to win every day, but we also need to keep our house in order.”
Francona has moved starter Mike Clevinger to the bullpen.
Jason Kipnis is making the transition from the infield to the outfield. Reliever Andrew Miller, coming back from a DL stint, is to pitch in consecutive games next week.
Indians: INF Yandy Diaz has missed three games since spraining the middle finger in his right hand against the Los Angeles Angels.
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