Lindor’s home run in 10th inning lifts Indians past Toronto

CLEVELAND — Francisco Lindor knows about good timing.

Shortly after a hard rain began to fall in the bottom of the 10th inning, Lindor hit a leadoff home run and the Cleveland Indians defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 on Saturday night.

Lindor belted a 2-2 pitch from Danny Barnes (2-3) to right field for his 15th homer of the season. He dashed through the rain drops only to be doused by several coolers of water as his teammates waited at home plate.

Winning the game with a home run in those conditions was the last thing on Lindor’s mind.

“Believe it or not as soon as it started raining my first reaction was ‘The ball’s going to go nowhere right now,’” Lindor said. “I stepped out and thought if I hit it hard on the ground it’s going to go through, but it went up and it carried.”

The Progressive Field grounds crew scurried to put the tarp on the field while Cleveland’s players were still celebrating the victory.

Bryan Shaw (3-4) retired Kevin Pillar on a groundout with two on to end the 10th.

Danny Salazar came off the disabled list and held Toronto to one hit in seven innings. Cleveland led 1-0, but Justin Smoak homered on Andrew Miller’s first pitch in the eighth.

Smoak’s towering drive barely cleared the wall in right field and hit off the railing in front of the first row of seats for his 27th homer.

“He’s a great pitcher,” Smoak said. “It went my way tonight. It gave us a chance to win the game.”

Salazar, activated before the game after being out since June 3 because of a sore right shoulder, struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter. Pillar’s leadoff single in the third was the only hit he allowed.

Salazar came out firing in the first, striking out the side on 12 pitches and hitting in the mid-to-high 90s on the radar gun. He retired the last 14 hitters in his first start since May 27.

“I wanted to be aggressive,” he said. “My fastball was working. If I’m healthy I know I can do that. Knowing I’m able to help the team, that was great for me.”

“He came out throwing strikes,” manager Terry Francona said. “He had velocity. He attacked. That was really impressive.”

Edwin Encarnacion’s RBI groundout in the fourth put Cleveland ahead. Third baseman Josh Donaldson couldn’t turn an inning-ending double play after bobbling the hard-hit ball, allowing Lindor to score from third.

Marcus Stroman gave up five hits, struck out seven and walked five in 7 2/3 innings for Toronto.

SAME OLD ENDING

The Blue Jays have lost three times on walk-off hits during their 10-game road trip that ends Sunday.

“Losses are all tough,” manager John Gibbons said. “They got the last at-bat on the road, you know how that goes.”

ALMOST A COSTLY ERROR

Lindor booted Donaldson’s ground ball to start the top of the 10th with Cody Allen pitching but the Blue Jays were unable to score.

“I felt so bad the whole inning,” he said. “I thought, ‘Don’t let us lose like that.’ The first thing I did when I got to the dugout was thank Cody and thank Shaw that they picked me up.”

TOUGH ISSUE

The Blue Jays put pitcher Aaron Sanchez on the disabled list for the fourth time this season because of blister on his right middle finger. Stroman also pitched through a blister Saturday.

“It was a humid game, which makes skin softer,” he said. “And I was sweating a ton, so your skin breaks down quicker.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: SS Troy Tulowitzki (groin) was held out of the lineup, but is expected to play Sunday. He was injured running to first base in his final at-bat Friday.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: LHP J.A. Happ has failed to reach the sixth inning in his last two starts. His last win was on July 4 over the Yankees.

Indians: RHP Corey Kluber will work on seven days’ rest after having a stiff neck following his July 15 start at Oakland. He is 5-1 with a 2.54 ERA at home this season.

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