Tribe completes first-inning cycle, rolls to 15th straight W
By Fabian Ardaya
CHICAGO -- It took the Indians just six batters to complete the cycle on Thursday night. Their star shortstop, Francisco Lindor, finished a double shy of accomplishing the feat himself. The club's offensive explosion was more than ace Corey Kluber needed as the Indians romped to a franchise-record 15th win in a row with an 11-2 victory over the White Sox.
Lindor took an offering from Pelfrey -- who had faced the Indians two days ago in 2 2/3 innings of relief -- into the gap to lead off the game with a triple. Austin Jackson followed with an RBI double, and Edwin Encarnacion extended his league-best 30-game on-base streak with a three-run homer to give Kluber a four-run cushion. Two batters later, Chisenhall singled to complete the team cycle for the Indians, who swept the Yankees, Tigers and White Sox on their 11-game road trip.
"Franky hits that leadoff triple and it's like, 'OK, here we go,'" Francona said. "When you're got Kluber pitching -- anybody pitching -- but when you've got Kluber on the mound and you score early, it sure makes you feel good."
Lindor homered off Pelfrey in the second inning, taking an 89.7-mph fastball 424 feet to right-center with an exit velocity of 106.1 mph, according to Statcast™. With the blast, Lindor joined Billy Hamilton as the only players with a homer and a triple in the first and second innings of a game this season. Lindor hit a single in the seventh, but he finished a double short of the cycle.
The two-time All-Star, who leads all shortstops with 27 homers, was stopped by Rob Brantly in the ninth as the catcher -- making his first career pitching appearance -- got Lindor to hit a soft grounder on a 60.2-mph changeup.
"I mean, yeah. It was right there," Lindor said, when asked if he was thinking of a potential cycle. "But it didn't happen, so it's just a part of the game."
Erik Gonzalez, who has played sporadically in his time with the big league club, had more success against Brantly. His ninth-inning blast was his second of the night, giving him his first career multi-homer game.
"I mean, I wasn't trying to hit a home run in that situation. I just tried to hit the ball back to him, and the ball ran a lot.
"When you can do that in the big leagues, it's fun. My family is really happy right now, my friends. They were watching me, and that's really fun."
Cleveland got contributions from up and down the order, as each starter reached base at least once and the club collected 16 hits. Zimmer made his return to the lineup after missing time in the concussion protocol and smacked a double. Indians No. 1 prospect Francisco Mejia cranked his second career hit in the eighth. Greg Allen, the Indians' No. 8 prospect, hit his first career homer -- a two-run shot off Jace Fry -- to expand on the giant lead.
"To be able to get in there and have some opportunities and be able to get some knocks here and there and get the opportunity to try to help the team win, it's been a blast," Allen said.
"It's exciting for everybody," Francona said. "Not just them, but even the staff. It's fun when those guys get to play."
Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.