CLEVELAND — Francisco Lindor wasn’t thinking about his home run that helped the Cleveland Indians beat Kansas City Royals 5-4 on Sunday. Instead, the All-Star shortstop was only concerned about the young child who was struck by a line drive he hit.
In the latest instance this season around the majors of a fan being injured by a foul ball, Lindor said he was told his liner sent a 3-year-old boy to the hospital.
“It stinks, man,” Lindor said. “You don’t want to get nobody hurt. I have heard the kid is doing well. He’s in the hospital. He’s getting checked and all I know is he’s in stable condition and he’s doing good.”
“In a way, that makes me happy, but it stinks, you don’t want that to happen to anybody, especially a little kid.”
According to MLB Insider Zack Meisel, Lindor is encouraging all MLB teams to extend the netting at their ballparks:
Francisco Lindor received an encouraging update about the 3-year-old boy who was struck by his line drive in the sixth inning. Lindor said the boy is at the hospital, conscious and talking.
Lindor encouraged all MLB teams to extend the netting at their ballparks: pic.twitter.com/X5eDmhUaz2
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) July 21, 2019
The Indians said in an e-mail following the game that they could not disclose any information.
An adult holding the child immediately left the seating area after Lindor’s drive down the right field line in the sixth inning. Lindor said he stepped out of the box briefly before continuing the at-bat against pitcher Glenn Spellman.
“You take that moment to say a little prayer, ‘God, help him. Hope he’s OK,'” he said.
The protective netting at Progressive Field runs to the end of each dugout. Lindor’s line drive landed several sections beyond the netting and was about 12 to 15 rows into the stands.
Lindor echoed the calls of many major leaguers to extend the netting. The Chicago White Sox are set to become the first team in the majors with netting that goes from foul pole to foul pole on Monday.
Last month, a 2-year-old girl was sent to the hospital with head injuries by a foul ball in Houston.
“I encourage every MLB team to put the nets all the way down,” Lindor said. “I know it’s all about the fans’ experience of interacting with players and I completely get that. You want to have that interaction with the fans, getting autographs and stuff, but at the end of the day, we want to make sure everybody comes out of this game healthy, and we got to do something about it,” Lindor said.
“Everybody feels bad. And if we can put the nets a little bit further down, I think it would be a lot better,” he said.
Lindor said he changed his approach when he stepped back in the box against Spellman.
“You try to go back to this, focus on the pitcher, focus on the at-bat, focus on your job,” Lindor said. “That at-bat, I didn’t want to pull the ball at all.”
“I was just trying to hit it somewhere else, not hit it in that direction, because then what happens is somebody gets hit and then everybody’s paying attention to that person and nobody remembers there’s a game going on. You don’t want to pull the ball again, because then now you hit somebody else. It’s not fun,” he said.
Lindor homered after originally being scheduled to get the day off and José Ramírez hit a tiebreaking home run in the sixth.
Lindor talked his way into the lineup at designated hitter after manager Terry Francona planned on resting him. His two-run homer in the third tied the game at 2.
Ramírez’s leadoff homer put Cleveland ahead in the sixth and the Indians went on to their seventh win in eight games. Cleveland has also won 13 of 16.
Rookie Zach Plesac (4-3) allowed two runs in six innings. The right-hander gave up a run in the first and allowed Jorge Soler’s solo homer in the third.
Brad Hand allowed Bubba Starling’s first major league home run in the ninth, but struck out the next three hitters for his 27th save in 28 opportunities.
Sparkman (4-5) allowed both homers and gave up four earned runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Soler hit his 27th home run in the third and took a homer away from Jason Kipnis the following inning. Soler leaped at the wall in right field to catch Kipnis’ towering drive.
Sparkman threw his hands in the air as he looked toward right field. Soler tipped his cap to the pitcher.
Kansas City is 7-3 since the All-Star break and snapped Cleveland’s six-game winning streak with a 1-0 victory on Saturday.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber (broken arm) threw 30 pitches off the mound, his second bullpen since being struck by a line drive May 1. He’ll accompany the team on its road trip to Toronto and throw his next bullpen session Wednesday.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy (4-5, 4.52 ERA) on Tuesday in Atlanta will look to build off a positive last outing. He threw six innings in which he allowed just two earned runs while walking none.
Indians: RHP Mike Clevinger (3-2, 3.57 ERA) will pitch the opener of a four-game series in Toronto on Monday. He’s struck out 27 batters in 17 innings in July.