Sizzling Lindor leads Indians into series finale with Royals

CLEVELAND — Francisco Lindor, the hottest hitter in baseball, will be batting in his customary leadoff spot on Sunday as the Cleveland Indians host the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field in the final contest of a three-game series.

The teams split the first two games.

Lindor, who has been on a month-long terror, went 4-for-4 with two doubles and two home runs in leading Cleveland to a 6-2 victory Saturday.

In 11 May games, Lindor is hitting .451, with seven doubles, eight home runs and 13 RBIs. His eight home runs and 15 extra base hits in May are the most in the majors.

“He’s really a good hitter, and he can spray the ball from foul pole to foul pole,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “When you can do that, you’re going to get hits that other guys can’t.”

In Saturday’s game, Lindor became the first Indians leadoff hitter to have four extra base hits in a game since Tito Francona, Terry’s father, did it July 3, 1964.

Lindor’s hot bat comes at a good time for the Indians, who lost a bat Saturday when they placed right-fielder Tyler Naquin on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring.

Naquin, who has played well and is hitting .333, sustained his injury legging out a double in Friday’s game.

“It’s a mild strain, so we put him on the 10-day DL, and hopefully after 10 days he’ll be feeling great,” Francona said. “He thought it was just a cramp initially, but when he showed up (Saturday) it was still pretty tight.”

Taking Naquin’s spot on the roster is reliever Tyler Olson, who was activated off the paternity list.

The Indians hope to get center fielder Bradley Zimmer back in the lineup Sunday.

Zimmer has missed four of the Indians’ last five games witha chest contusion suffered when he ran into a wall at Yankee Stadium on May 5.

On Sunday, the Indians will send reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to the mound. Kluber (5-2, 2.62 ERA) is off to another solid start, although he has been hurt by the long ball.

Kluber has allowed 10 home runs in his eight starts, the last of which was a 3-2 loss in Milwaukee on May 8. In that game, Kluber gave up two home runs, which accounted for all three of the runs he allowed.

In two starts against Kansas City last year, Kluber was 2-0 with a 0.73 ERA. In his career, he has started 20 games against the Royals and is 9-6 with a 2.98 ERA.

The Royals will start left-hander Danny Duffy, (1-4, 5.15), who is coming off a win in his last start — a 15-7 decision over Baltimore on May 8. Duffy pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing one run and six hits with five strikeouts and two walks.

It will be Duffy’s second start against Cleveland this year. His first came April 6 when he was the losing pitcher in a 3-2 Royals loss. In that game, he worked 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and three hits with three strikeouts and three walks.

Cleveland is not one of Duffy’s favorite opponents. In three starts against the Indians last year, he was 0-3 with a 4.60 ERA. In 16 career appearances against Cleveland, he is 2-7 with a 4.09 ERA.