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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | December 22, 2014

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Kipnis and Chisenhall Pace Tribe Past Kansas City; Indians 8, Royals 5

By Mike Brandyberry

The Indians may be bruised, but they are not beaten easily. Each time the Royals issued a punch Monday afternoon, the Tribe responded with a haymaker of their own.

Undermanned for the third straight day, the Indians used timely hitting and a gritty performance by Josh Tomlin to defeat the Kansas City Royals 8-5 on Memorial Day. The victory snaps a three game losing skid for the Tribe.

Tomlin was fresh off the disabled list, Lonnie Chisenhall was fresh from Columbus and Jason Kipnis was fresh for the third spot in the batting order today. Each had big days to help the Tribe to a much needed victory.

The Tribe fell behind early in the top of the second inning when Jeff Francoeur walked with one out and Eric Hosmer followed with a home run to deep center field. The bomb gave the Royals an early 2-0 lead. However, the Tribe would take control of the game in the bottom of the third inning.

Newly recalled, Lonnie Chisenhall hit the third major league pitch he saw this season deep down the right field line and into the Royals bullpen to lead off the third inning. The solo blast was his first of two hits on the day. Luke Carlin followed with a single to center field. With one out, Shin-Soo Choo singled to left field and Michael Brantley walked to load the bases for Kipnis.

Kipnis, filling in the three-hole for the injured Asdrubal Cabrera, worked the count full before fouling off several pitches and eventually lacing a base hit back up the middle to score two runs and give the Tribe a 3-2 lead.  Jose Lopez would follow with an infield hit to score Brantley and Casey Kotchman would single to left to score Kipnis and give the Indians a 5-2 lead after three innings.

Nathan Adcock would not survive the third inning, leaving with only one out. The right hander would finish with two and one-third innings pitched, allowing six hits, five runs and four of them earned. He gave way to Luis Mendoza who would be left to try and hold the Royals in the game.

Meanwhile, fresh off the disabled list, Tomlin battled to work through five innings. In the fifth inning, Brayan Pena homered to center field and Jarrod Dyson tripled down the right field line and scored when Kipnis’ relay throw sailEd High and into the stands. Tomlin finished the fifth inning, allowing four runs, on four hits and 81 pitches. Considering the 90 degree heat, it was probably the best effort the Indians could hope from Tomlin, who has not started since May 7.

The Indians would answer right back in the bottom of the fifth when Kipnis would manufacture a run of his own. After a bunt single, he stole second base and scored on Jose Lopez’s single off the left field wall. Kipnis had three hits and two runs batted in on the afternoon.

Joe Smith and Nick Hagadone would work together to pitch the sixth and seventh innings. Smith recorded two outs in the sixth before giving way to Hagadone who allowed a run in the top of the seventh inning when Dyson walked and later scored on an Alcides Escobar base hit.

However, the Tribe would answer back again and win the inning when Juan Diaz started the inning off with an infield hit and moved to third base on a throwing error. Brantley singled him home to extend the lead and Kipnis followed with another hit. Brantley stole third base and was able to score on Lopez’s fielder’s choice to make the score 8-5 Indians.

Vinnie Pestano worked a scoreless eighth inning and Chris Perez worked a nine-pitch, ninth inning for his 17th save. Perez fist pumped so violently after covering first base to record the final out, he nearly fell to the ground.

The Tribe will look to build upon their momentum against the Royals tomorrow when Justin Masterson (2-3, 4.62 ERA) takes on the left-hander Will Smith (0-1, 13.50 ERA) at 7:05 at Progressive Field.

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images