From the start it Cleveland struggled at the plate, with 9 guys being retired by Rangers starter Cole Hamels. Tribe starter Danny Salazar also looked to be having a hard time finding his groove early on, giving up a 2-run bomb to Nomar Mazara in the 1st. It wasn’t until the top of the 4th that the Tribe began to chip away at Hamels with a 2-run single off the bat of Jose Ramirez to tie things up.
Throughout the game, the strikeout king Salazar inched his way back to form, with some help from catcher Roberto Perez who skillfully threw out Rougned Odor at second, leaving Danny with 2 outs in the 4th inning, only to get his 6th strikeout of the game from a swinging Carlos Gomez.
In the 5th the Tribe took over the lead on a Perez sac fly that would score rookie Yandy Diaz, putting Cleveland up 3-2. The bottom of the 5th was a bit of a mess for Cleveland, starting with no-play to first from Ramirez, a walk, and what can only be described as a Lindor-fan’s nightmare that would let 2 runs in, giving the lead to Texas. Ending the 5th, another run would come in from a Mazara single that would end up getting him out at second.
To end the nightmare, Francisco Lindor came to the plate with 1 out and hit a mammoth home run to left. It was not hidden by any means that there was nothing but frustration behind that swing.
The ninth started off hot with two back to back singles from Diaz and Tyler Naquin. To continue the back to back trend, Texas pitcher Sam Dyson gives up a pair of walks to Abraham Almonte and Carlos Santana to load the bases and walk a run into a 1 run game. AND LINDOR GOES YARD FOR HIS FIRST CAREER GRAND SLAM TO RIGHT putting the Tribe ahead of Texas 9-6 and finishing off the sweep to start the year.
Tribe Top Three of the Game:
3. Danny Salazar – SP – 33% of the Twitter vote
Danny started off the game a little slow, but eventually found the Danny groove he always falls to: his strikeouts. He relied on his fastball and his changeup was a dream, getting him through 5.2 innings ended with 9 Ks. Like the last three started before him this series, Danny kept the team in the game with the support of the offense. Salazar gave up 4 earned runs and 4 walks, but overall had a wonderful start to the season.
2. Yandy Diaz – 3B – 34% of the Twitter vote
I’m thinking fans are riding hot on the Yandy Diaz bandwagon, which I completely support. He went 2-4 with 2 runs in to help the Tribe solidify their win and sweep over Texas. Diaz has had an impressive first series in his rookie year, not always being the one to get the run in but being able to contribute one way or another. His bat can stand out, and his glove has impressed already after three games, which might cause fans and the Indians to wonder (even just for a second) what might happen when Jason Kipnis comes back in a few weeks.
1. Francisco Lindor – SS – No Twitter Vote Needed
I don’t think a twitter poll for this is necessary, and if you have to ask why I will question your level of fandom. Let’s recap. In the fifth inning, Lindor was handed an error on a botched routine play that should have ended the inning. Coming off the field once the inning did end, Lindor looked frustrated and bothered with the play and himself. Fast forward to the top of the 6th, with 1 out, Lindor sets up at the plate and rockets a solo shot, putting the Tribe a run behind the Rangers. Exciting? Always. But it gets better. Go a little more forward to the top of the ninth inning, bases loaded, 1 run already walked in, and if it were important I would mention how far down they were, but it doesn’t matter. Some of that frustration must have still been lingering, because off the bat of Francisco Lindor was a bomb shot out to right, his first career grand slam and first one for Cleveland since 2015, giving the Indians a comfortable 9-6 lead. There were even people crying in the stands, in game three of the season, I can’t even…but Frankie can.
Tribe Time Tomorrow: Cleveland meets the Diamondbacks tomorrow at Chase Field in Arizona, putting righty Josh Tomlin on the bump to face AZ starter Shelby Miller to start series number two of the season.