Francisco Lindor has the makeup and talent of any manager's dreams. His late-inning heroics are a welcome bonus.
Cleveland's No. 1 prospect belted a go-ahead grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning to lead Double-A Akron to a come-from-behind 9-7 win over Altoona on Thursday night.
"Nothing he does surprises me anymore," RubberDucks manager Dave Wallace said. "He's just got everything that you hope for in a leader on your team, not only on the field, but how mature he is off the field and that type of character. His main focus right now is his preparation and his focus throughout an at-bat, throughout a game, throughout a week, a month, all that. It's just a matter of being consistent. The tools, the talent obviously is all there. It's a matter of being consistent with it."
The grand slam, the first of Lindor's career, capped off Akron's turn-around from a sluggish start. The RubberDucks trailed by five runs entering the bottom of the seventh.
"The first six innings were pretty ugly," Wallace said. "We didn't do much right, but I'll give our guys a lot of credit, they never quit. They kept fighting even though we were down. We just started piecing together some at-bats and put ourselves in a position there late in the game to take the lead."
Altoona built a sizeable lead by the long ball. Elias Diaz and No. 11 Pirates prospect Willy Garcia homered for the Curve, and Keon Broxton added two jacks in the second multi-homer game of his career.
After cutting the margin to two runs in the eighth, Lindor stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and turned around an offering from right-hander Ryan Beckman, sending it out to right field and giving his team the lead for good.
Thursday night's grand slam was the first of Francisco Lindor's professional career. (Ashley Marshall/MiLB.com)
"Francisco, being a switch-hitter, from the left side, his tendency is to get a little big and a little long," Wallace said. "That's been a big focus of his, to try and stay within himself. He does a really nice job right-handed not trying to do too much. Left-handed, he's definitely got some pop, but it's just the understanding of getting a good pitch and putting a good swing on it, that pop will come out. He doesn't have to try and create it."
Beckman (1-2) was charged with two runs on two hits over two-thirds of an inning in the loss.
Lindor's homer made a winner out of Jordan Cooper (3-0), who struck out the only two men he faced in the eighth. Kyle Crockett fanned one and walked one in a hitless ninth for his fifth save.