CLEVELAND -- Francisco Lindor could not help but laugh as he received a high five from third baseman Jose Ramirez near second base. Even though the two had schemed it beforehand, the Indians shortstop was still in disbelief that it actually worked.
In the top of the ninth of the Tribe's 7-1 win over the Royals on Saturday night, Lindor initiated a gem in the field that was extraordinary even by his own lofty standards. The shortstop's teammates are rarely surprised by Lindor's defensive wizardy, but this one caught everyone off guard.
"He surprised us again," Indians pitcher Josh Tomlin said with a grin. "You never know what he's going to pull off. He's a special player. I'll keep saying it. He's fun to watch."
With nobody out in the final frame, Lindor shifted over to the first-base side of second base for the left-handed-hitting Kendrys Morales, who smacked one up the middle. The shortstop had little time to react as he dove to his right to stop the ball from getting to center field. He then flipped the ball to Ramirez, who quickly threw it over to first to complete a 6-5-3 putout.
Believe it or not, Lindor said the play was actually Ramirez's idea.
"Ramirez, before that play happened, told me, 'If I catch the ball, I'm going to give it to you,'" Lindor said. "I said, 'All right, if I catch it, I'm going to give it to you.' As soon as it was hit, I knew I was going to give it to him."
The flashing of the glove in the ninth added another element to what was already a stellar night for Lindor with the bat. The shortstop went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a two-run homer. He became the first Indians player to record three extra-base hits in a game this season and the first since Aug. 8, 2015.
Lindor's three-hit game marked was his 10th of the season, tying him for first in the Majors. The shortstop ranks near the top of multiple categories among big league shortstops, but his name was absent from the first American League All-Star vote-getting leaders, which was released earlier this week.
"To see him not even on the top list for the shortstops for the All-Star Game, it is disappointing," Tomlin said. "He's a special player and he needs to be there."
Lindor shrugged off the early snub. The shortstop has more than highlight-reel plays or personal awards in mind for this season.
"I don't play for any awards, I play for October baseball," Lindor said. "The biggest accomplishment anyone could have is to win the World Series. You can see the Kansas City team. They've got Gold Glovers, All-Stars and Silver Sluggers. And you can ask them, 'What was the best part of your career so far?' They will say, 'Winning the World Series.' That's what I want."
Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.