Apr 5, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam in the ninth inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Cleveland won 9-6. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Francisco Lindor hit a go-ahead grand slam off closer Sam Dyson in the ninth inning and the defending AL champion Cleveland Indians completed a season-opening sweep with a 9-6 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.
Lindor’s first career slam and second homer of the game came after he put the Rangers ahead in the fifth when the shortstop misjudged Joey Gallo’s speed, couldn’t beat the slugger to second base on an attempted two-out force play and allowed two runs to score on a throwing error.
Dyson (0-2) loaded the bases and walked in a run before Lindor’s homer down the right field line during a five-run Cleveland ninth. Dyson blew his first save after giving up three runs in a tie game in an 8-5 loss on opening day. He has allowed eight runs in one inning for the defending AL West champs.
The switch-hitting Lindor homered from both sides and had a career-high five RBIs. His solo shot in the sixth to left off Cole Hamels — shortly after his miscue — pulled Cleveland within 5-4.
After botching the force play on Gallo in the fifth, Lindor’s throw to try to get Shin-Soo Choo surprised Edwin Encarnacion and skipped off the first baseman’s glove.
Shawn Armstrong (1-0) struck out the only hitter he faced, Jonathan Lucroy, for his first major league win. Bryan Shaw pitched a perfect ninth for his first save.
Cleveland’s Danny Salazar, who led the majors with 37 strikeouts in the spring, struck out nine in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander fanned the side in the first while allowing Nomar Mazara’s two-run homer, a 439-foot shot into the second deck in right field.
Mazara, who had three hits, singled home Choo for a 5-3 lead after Lindor’s miscue. Elvis Andrus connected on a solo homer in the seventh.
Jose Ramirez hit a tying two-run single for Cleveland in the fourth after Hamels opened with three perfect innings.
Indians: LF Michael Brantley didn’t start after being in the lineup the first two games in his return from a right shoulder injury that mostly sidelined him for 17 months. Manager Terry Francona said he was available, and Brantley struck out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. “I don’t think any of us want to lose sight of the fact that he’s had a long haul back,” Francona said.
Rangers: RHP Andrew Cashner (right biceps soreness) threw 72 pitches over four innings in a simulated game and said he’s ready for a big league start April 15 after one rehab appearance in the minors. However, pitching coach Doug Brocail said the club was likely to prefer two rehab starts. … Adrian Beltre (right calf tightness) was one of the opposing hitters.
Indians: RHP Josh Tomlin (13-9, 4.40 ERA in 2016) starts Friday at Arizona coming of career highs in wins, starts (29) and strikeouts (118).
Rangers: RHP A.J. Griffin (7-4, 5.07 in 2016) starts Friday at home against Oakland after earning a spot in the Texas rotation for the second straight spring.