Brantley caps special day with walk-off double

Brantley caps special day with walk-off double

CLEVELAND -- On a day meant for celebrating all the Indians accomplished last season, the Tribe quickly turned the page with a walk-off win for this year's montage. In his long-awaited return to Cleveland, it was Michael Brantley who played the role of hero in Tuesday's home opener at Progressive Field.

In a 2-1 win over the White Sox in 10 innings, Brantley slashed a pitch from righty Tommy Kahnle down the left-field line, scoring Francisco Lindor from first base. Brantley -- who missed most of last season due to a right shoulder injury -- raised his right arm skyward as he rounded second, and awaited a mob of teammates.

"I don't know if you can write it up any better," Brantley said. "I guess if you hit a home run, but we got a win. That's all that matters. A lot of hard work went into this offseason. A lot of time away from my kids and my family."

Lindor, Indians not content with AL superiority

Kahnle said Brantley's game-winner was a case of good hitting.

"That's what we're looking for," Kahnle said. "[Catcher Geovany Soto] gave me a fastball outside and I basically hit my spot, but he put a good swing on it and they won the game."

For Brantley, it was his fourth career walk-off hit, and the first of the year for a Cleveland club that had plenty in its run to the World Series last year. The Indians, who received their American League championship rings before the game, led the Majors last year with 11 walk-off wins from nine players.

Indians celebrate '16 AL pennant

"They worked so hard for it last year," Brantley said. "We accomplished so much. Just to take a second and enjoy it and understand how hard they worked, we worked, to get there, I think is what's most important. Now, it's kind of past us now. It's time to look forward to this season."

The late heroics followed a pitchers' duel between Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco and Chicago's James Shields.

Over seven innings, Carrasco limited the White Sox to one run -- courtesy of a Todd Frazier homer that rocketed out to left with an exit velocity of 110 mph in the fifth. Carrasco struck out seven and walked none. Shields, who has a 1.69 ERA on the young season, held the Indians to one run (via a first-inning homer from Lindor) over his 5 1/3 frames.

Carrasco's strong outing

"That's a good lineup over there, one through nine they're pretty solid," Shields said. "Overall command was there."

Yandy's strong defense: The White Sox threatened to break through in the eighth, when pinch-hitter Matt Davidson's double put runners on second and third with one out. Tyler Saladino sharply pulled a pitch from relief ace Andrew Miller, but third baseman Yandy Diaz dove to his left for a highlight-reel grab. The runners had to stay put, and Miller escaped with a strikeout of Tim Anderson to end the inning.

Diaz's fine diving catch

"I can't tell you what happened, because the ball just went into my glove," Diaz said through team translator Anna Bolton. "I saw that the ball was in my glove when I got up off the ground. What was important at that time was just to get an out."

Brantley, who had a great view of the play from left field, said it was a game changer.

"It was huge," Brantley said. "If that ball gets past him, I don't think I'm going to have a chance to throw out the pinch-runner who was running. He was too fast. The ball wasn't really hit hard enough, so two runs would've scored right there. It was a game-saving play. It was awesome."

Taming Edwin: Twice, Chicago's bullpen quieted slugger Edwin Encarnacion with one out and the bases loaded. In the sixth, righty Zach Putnam got the job done with a splitter, which generated a 5-4-3 double play groundout off Encarnacion's bat. Right-hander Nate Jones followed suit in the eighth, inducing another 5-4-3 double play from the slugger to halt another potential rally for Cleveland.

Putnam escapes bases-loaded jam

"We made the pitches we needed to at the time we needed," Jones said. "And the defense behind us made the play."

"You want that for yourself too, for your team. You see the glories of winning and it's pretty cool. To sit there on the other side and say it's not exciting to watch, it's a travesty to say that because everybody dreams of doing that. You get a ring for winning the American League, there's nothing better than that." -- Frazier, on the effect of watching the Indians' pregame ring ceremony

"It was awesome. I was so happy for him. As soon as I touched home plate, I looked around and everyone was clapping for him, his family in the stands. It was pretty cool, special, happy for him. He's back. Brantley's back." -- Lindor

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is only the second time in baseball history that both reigning pennant winners (Indians and Cubs) enjoyed a walk-off win in each of their home openers. The last occurrence came in 1960, when the '59 World Series participants (White Sox and Dodgers) achieved the feat.

Lindor's power surge
Lindor received some of the loudest cheers during the Indians' pregame AL championship ring ceremony. In the home half of the first, the shortstop showed his appreciation by sending a souvenir into the right-field stands. Lindor's solo homer had an exit velocity of 105 mph and marked his team-leading fourth home run in seven games.

Lindor's solo home run

White Sox:
Derek Holland makes his second start and first on the road for the White Sox in the second game of the series Wednesday night, with a first pitch of 5:10 p.m. CT. Holland's last road win came on May 30, 2016, at Cleveland. He is 0-3 since.

Indians: Right-hander Danny Salazar is scheduled to take the mound for the Tribe in a 6:10 p.m. ET clash with the White Sox on Wednesday night at Progressive Field. In his first start of the year, the righty struck out nine in 5 2/3 innings, and was charged with five runs (four earned).

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.