Lindor homer a bright spot for Indians

Shortstop's long ball accounts for Tribe's only run in loss to Rays

Lindor homer a bright spot for Indians

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- He doesn't proclaim himself to be a power hitter, but Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor showcased offensive muscle in a 5-1 loss to the Rays on Tuesday at Tropicana Field.

Lindor cracked a leadoff 424-foot solo home run to center field in the fourth inning off left-hander Matt Moore, lifting Cleveland to a 1-0 lead. The ball landed beyond the reach of Kevin Kiermaier's outstretched left arm as Lindor went 2-for-4, with a two-out single to right field in the first to go with the home run.

"If I put a good swing on the ball, I know it's going to carry," Lindor said. "I don't know if it's going to go, but it's going to carry. I'm not a power hitter. I'm not trying to hit home runs. I'm just trying to put good at-bats, good swings every pitch, like that swing. If the ball goes, it goes. If it doesn't go, I'll be happy anyways."

Lindor, 22, had just 12 home runs in 390 at-bats last season. However, he showed sparks of power late in 2015. Five of his homers came in September, when he posted a season-high 1.052 OPS.

Before Tuesday, his most recent home run had come against Twins reliever Brian Duensing on Sept. 30, 2015, at Progressive Field. According to MLB Statcast™, the home run Tuesday was the longest of Lindor's career, passing the 405-foot hit off Twins reliever Tommy Milone on Sept. 28, 2015, at Progressive Field. Lindor had 21 home runs throughout his Minor League career from 2011-15.

"For a while, that was 1-0, and we tried to make it hold up," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "That's a big part of the ballpark. He hit that ball really well."

Lindor has enjoyed a strong offensive start. He has at least one hit in four of the Indians' first five games, and he has posted two hits in a game three times. He's hitting .368 with a .955 OPS this season.

Lindor's jolt wasn't enough for the Indians to claim victory. Still, his home run showed that he has the potential for power, even if the long ball isn't his specialty.

"I got the pitch where I wanted," Lindor said, "and I was capable of putting a good swing on it."

Andrew Astleford is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.