CLEVELAND - While just about every sports fan in Cleveland had their eyes on who the Cleveland Browns were taking with the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, 14,452 were treated to a very entertaining game at Progressive Field and a preview of two teams that could play again come the postseason in October.
The Indians and Astros played three well played evenly matched games, and Thursday it was a two-run homer by Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor that was the difference in the 7th, as the Tribe pulled out a 4-3 win to take two of three from the Astros.
Corey Kluber got the start for the Indians, and went six innings, despite having all kinds of traffic on the bases it seemed all evening.
Kluber did manage to get the win, striking out 10, allowing three runs on eight hits with four walks. He's now 3-1 for the now 12-9 Indians.
Here's our three takeaways from the action at Progressive Field, as now the Tribe will get set for the Mariners on Friday night for the first of three games.
1. Lindor's Magic
Francisco Lindor last week turned down a reported $100 million dollar deal from the Indians, and it's becoming easier and easier to see why, as night in and night out it seems he does something special to prove he's a rising star in the game of baseball.
Thursday he launched his 6th homer of the season off Astros reliever Chris Devenski in the 7th to put the Indians up for good 4-3.
Last season it took Lindor till June 5th to reach six homers, and he's already piled up 14 RBI on the season, good for 4th on the team at this point.
Lindor became the fastest Indians shortstop to reach six homers since Woodie Held in 1960 (16 games), an interesting mark for a player who last year hit 15 homers.
His bomb on Thursday saved the day, and pushed the Indians to the win in dramatic fashion.
2. Lots of Traffic
It seemed like every time the Astros got up they seemed to have runners on the base paths, and even in the dramatic 9th inning they had chances to tie the game or even take the lead.
Credit Indians pitching, led by starter Corey Kluber for limiting what could have been a big night at the plate for the Astros, who pounded out 11 hits, and left 10 men on base.
Kluber's 10 strikeouts were a key to making sure the Astros didn't put more runs on the board, and it was his 25th career start in which he has had 10 or more K's.
Up 3-1 after the third inning, Houston had plenty of shots to close the door and knock Kluber out of the game, but it seemed like when the Tribe ace needed a big pitch, he was able to come up with it.
It felt like a playoff series, and as stated above don't be shocked to see these same two teams doing it again here at Progressive Field in October.
1. A Crazy Ninth
As Terry Francona put it "there was a lot going on in that 9th inning, they got runners on, there's a TV next to me and the Browns are coming up to make a pick, you talk about pressure, there's a lot going on there."
Francona earned a laugh with his comment, but he was dead on about the crazy way the ninth inning seemed to go, as it looked like more than once Houston was on the verge of tying the game or taking the lead.
Cody Allen, who worked a four inning save on Wednesday, worked out of a wild jam, with the help of Yan Gomes who had a great night behind the plate.
In a key moment of the game, Gomes threw out Jose Altuve in the 9th inning that could have put him on second with no outs.
It saved the lead as the Astros ended up with runners on first and third with one out, and Allen got Carlos Correa to pop out, and then Brian McCann to strike out to end the game.
Don't overlook Gomes' throwing out of Altuve, as it seemed like the Astros were well on their way to forcing the Indians to have to gain a run in the 9th to win or tie the game.