Boom! Bang! Pow! Nine pitches, three homers, one devastating inning.
Back in October’s spotlight, the Cleveland Indians rocked Rick Porcello for three long balls in the third inning in their AL Division Series opener. Francisco Lindor‘s homer capped the rampage off the 22-game winner, and the Indians held on to beat the Boston Red Sox 5-4 Thursday night.
After skipping down the third-base line and touching home plate, Lindor pointed toward the starry sky.
Before a sea of red-towel waving, screaming fans, the Indians got a jump in the best-of-5 series against David Ortiz and the AL East champions.
Andrew Miller, acquired by Cleveland in a July trade for an October night like this, pitched two scoreless innings for the win . Summoned by manager Terry Francona earlier than usual, the lefty struck out Ortiz with two on to end the fifth and threw a season-high 40 pitches.
Bryan Shaw gave up a leadoff homer to Boston’s Brock Holt in the eighth that made it 5-4 before Cody Allen struck out Xander Bogaerts with the potential tying run at third to end the inning. Boston put a runner on with two outs in the ninth but Allen fanned Dustin Pedroia on a full-count checked-swing , his 40th pitch, for the save. Pedroia was livid, and Farrell went onto the field to question plate umpire Brian Knight.
Pedroia had a few words for first-base umpire Phil Cuzzi and then fired his helmet in disgust on his way into the dugout.
Later, Boston’s fiery second baseman regretted his actions.
Ortiz went 1 for 4 with a double in the first game of his final postseason.
Cleveland unloaded on Porcello in the third, connecting for the three homers that shook Progressive Field.
Perez started the salvo with just his second homer in 82 at-bats at home this season. One out later, Kipnis drove a pitch over the wall in right-center, giving Cleveland a 3-2 lead and sending the raucous crowd of 37,763 into delirium. Kipnis had just finished getting a celebratory ride through the dugout when Lindor’s shot to right barely cleared a leaping attempt by Mookie Betts.
Leon’s homer pulled the Red Sox to 4-3 in the fifth. Francona, who won two World Series with the Red Sox before coming to Cleveland, pulled starter Trevor Bauer for Miller, who hadn’t come in earlier than the sixth all season.
Miller gave up a double and walk before getting Ortiz to swing at a low third strike .
Francona extended both Miller and Allen knowing the importance of winning the opener.