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Kipnis first career hit wins it for Indians in ninth

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians' slogan throughout a season of improbable comeback wins has been "What If?"

Rookie Jason Kipnis added a new twist Monday night: "Why not?"

That's what Kipnis thought as he came to bat with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning, before delivering his first career hit to give Cleveland a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

"That was so cool," Kipnis said after hitting a 1-0 pitch from Hisanori Takahashi between first and second base to give the Indians their 11th last at-bat home win and break a four-game losing streak.

Kipnis was well aware he was 0 for 5 since being called up Friday and really wanted a hit.

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"I actually thought, 'Why not now? I might as well do it,' "he said.

Kipnis was mobbed by teammates as the club's latest late-inning hero. First base coach Sandy Alomar Jr., gave the ball to the 24-year-old after retrieving it from a fan when Angels right fielder Torii Hunter tossed it into the crowd.

"I'm very appreciative of that," Kipnis said. "I'm going to keep this one a long time."

Indians manager Manny Acta will savor the much-needed victory awhile, too.

"This is a good way to break a little losing streak," Acta said. "We showed a lot of heart and he couldn't pick a better spot for his first hit in the big leagues."

Tony Sipp (5-2) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win after Bobby Abreu's two-run homer off Vinnie Pestano put the Angels ahead 2-1 in the eighth.

Angels closer Jordan Walden then blew his seventh save in 30 tries.

Michael Brantley opened the ninth with a line single to left and stole second - getting Kipnis to think.

"I mapped out what had to happen to get me up there or just be cheering," Kipnis said. "And that was bases loaded, two outs."

After Walden struck out Asdrubal Cabrera on a 3-2 pitch clocked at 98 mph, Travis Hafner drove the first pitch he saw to left-center, easily scoring Brantley to tie it at 2.

"Great at-bat there by Michael and then by Hafner," Acta said. "These guys believe when we get to the ninth and are close we can win. I'm just glad the lineup turned over to put those guys in position to do it."

Walden then walked Carlos Santana and hit Jack Hannahan in the right ankle with an 0-2 pitch to load the bases.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia brought in Takahashi to pitch and summoned Hunter from right to play as an extra infielder between first and second base.

"You have to defend what you can in that situation," Scioscia said. "Any fly ball is going to beat you."

The ploy worked when Travis Buck tapped a one-hopper to Hunter, who threw home for the forceout.

"I was thinking, 'Gee, we can't even hit a ball over an outfielder playing the infield,' " Acta said. "But we pitched great one more time. When you pitch well, you have a chance."

Acta admitted the second-place Indians are watching the scoreboard to see what other AL Central teams are doing. Cleveland moved within one game of first-place Detroit and is 2 ½ ahead of Chicago.

"After what we went through last year [93 losses], why not watch the scoreboard?" Acta said.

Angels starter Dan Haren struck out 10 over 7 2/3 innings and was in line for his fifth win in seven starts since June 24. The right-hander gave up one run and three hits, walking two.

"I struggled a little bit in the first inning," Haren said. "I didn't really have too many baserunners after that. In a 1-0 game you have to be more careful."

Haren matched his season high in strikeouts, set May 8 in a 6-5 Angels win over Cleveland in which he got a no-decision. On April 12, he blanked the Indians 2-0 on a one-hitter -- a fourth-inning single by Shin-Soo Choo.

Maicer Izturis singled to open the eighth off Pestano. One out later, Abreu stepped up, hitting only .152 (10 for 66) in July. The veteran pulled a 1-0 pitch into the right-field seats for his fourth homer and a 2-1 lead.

Cleveland scored in the first. Brantley lined a one-out double to right and came home on Cabrera's single for a 1-0 lead.

Indians starter Fausto Carmona worked six strenuous shutout innings for one of his best outings of an otherwise rocky season. Named Cleveland's No. 1 starter at the outset of spring training, he was pounded for 10 runs in three innings on opening day by the Chicago White Sox. He later lost eight of nine starts from May 19 through June 26. He was sidelined July 2-18 with a strained muscle in his right thigh.

He stranded two runners in the second, fourth and fifth innings. In the fifth, with Angels on first and third and two outs, Abreu hit a shot that right fielder Buck caught with his back against the wall.

Notes

  • Indians C Carlos Santana has one hit in his last 15 at-bats, a fourth-inning bunt single.
  • Indians rookie RHP Alex White, out since May 21 with a sore right middle finger, threw a simulated game. Acta said trainers will see how White feels Tuesday before putting together a timetable for his return -- but it will be as a reliever. The Indians want to get White back as soon as possible and think that it will take too long to build up his arm strength to get back into the rotation.
  • Indians INF Jared Goedert accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Columbus. He was designated for assignment Thursday.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, Jason Kipnis delivers his first career hit.  (AP)
With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, Jason Kipnis delivers his first career hit. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cleveland

J. Kipnis
AB 4
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 1
Anaheim

D. Haren
IP 7.2
H 3
ER 1
BB 2
K 10
 

Related Video

Los Angeles Angels
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Maicer Izturis, 2B4120001 .273
Torii Hunter, RF3000102 .234
Bobby Abreu, DH4112002 .265
Vernon Wells, LF3010100 .220
Alberto Callaspo, 3B3010100 .296
Erick Aybar, SS4000013 .286
Mark Trumbo, 1B4000003 .253
Peter Bourjos, CF4000030 .265
Jeff Mathis, C3010010 .186
Totals3226235  
Batting
2B - Alberto Callaspo (16, Carmona), Jeff Mathis (9, Carmona)
HR - Bobby Abreu (4, Pestano)
RBI - Bobby Abreu 2 (41)
SB - Vernon Wells (5, 2nd base off Carmona/Marson)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Torii Hunter 1
Los Angeles Angels
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Dan Haren 7.23112100 3.01
Scott Downs (H,18) 0.1000000 1.31
Jordan Walden (BS,7; L,2-3) 0.1222110 3.05
Hisanori Takahashi 0.1100000 3.25
HBP - Hannahan (by Jordan Walden)
Pitches-Strikes - Dan Haren 122-78, Scott Downs 3-2, Jordan Walden 19-10, Hisanori Takahashi 4-2
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dan Haren 3-9, Hisanori Takahashi 1-0
Batters Faced - Dan Haren 27, Scott Downs 1, Jordan Walden 5, Hisanori Takahashi 2
Cleveland Indians
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ezequiel Carrera, CF3000010 .257
   a- Austin Kearns, PH-LF1000000 .220
Michael Brantley, LF-CF3220100 .281
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS4011012 .289
Travis Hafner, DH4011011 .312
    Orlando Cabrera, PR-DH0000000 .240
Carlos Santana, 1B-C3110110 .223
Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B3000031 .246
    Jack Hannahan, 3B0000000 .217
Travis Buck, RF3000114 .234
Jason Kipnis, 2B4011021 .167
Lou Marson, C2000010 .242
   b- Matt LaPorta, PH-1B1000000 .238
Totals31363311  
a-lined out for Carrera in the 8th
b-flied out for Marson in the 8th
Batting
2B - Michael Brantley (18, Haren), Travis Hafner (11, Walden)
RBI - Asdrubal Cabrera (61), Travis Hafner (41), Jason Kipnis (1)
2-OUT RBI - Jason Kipnis (1)
SB - Michael Brantley (13, 2nd base off Walden/Mathis)
CS - Asdrubal Cabrera (2, 2nd base by Haren/Mathis)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Michael Brantley 1
Cleveland Indians
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Fausto Carmona 6400330 5.34
Joe Smith (H,7) 1000010 1.14
Vinnie Pestano (BS,4) 1222001 3.08
Tony Sipp (W,5-2) 1000010 3.07
Pitches-Strikes - Fausto Carmona 100-61, Joe Smith 8-7, Vinnie Pestano 14-11, Tony Sipp 11-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Fausto Carmona 6-8, Joe Smith 2-0, Vinnie Pestano 1-2
Batters Faced - Fausto Carmona 24, Joe Smith 3, Vinnie Pestano 5, Tony Sipp 3
Game Information
Attendance - 19384
Game Time - 3:02
Temperature - 82
Umpires - Home - Marvin Hudson, First Base - Mike Estabrook, Second Base - Ted Barrett, Third Base - Brian Runge