The rookie delivers. Second baseman Jason Kipnis drives in Carlos Santana with a walk-off single to right field off of Hisanori Takahashi as the Cleveland Indians score two in the ninth to defeat the Los Angeles Angels, 3-2. Both the hit and RBI are the first of his career.
In a well-pitched contest between the Angels’ Dan Haren and the Indians’ Fausto Carmona (Roberto Hernandez), Cleveland jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on an RBI-single from Asdrubal Cabrera in the first inning to score Michael Brantley, who had reached base on a one-out double. The Angels got men in scoring position in the fourth and fifth off of Carmona, but could not capitalize off of four hits and three walks in his six scoreless innings on the mound. Haren struck out ten and allowed just the one run through seven and two-thirds.
After a scoreless frame from Joe Smith, the Angels struck through against reliever Vinnie Pestano in the eighth. Maicer Izturis singled to start the inning and after a Torii Hunter fly out, Bobby Abreu homered to deep right to give the Angels a 2-1 advantage.
Jordan Walden took over on the mound for the save for the Angels in the bottom of the ninth and gave up a single to Brantley. Brantley would steal second, but Cabrera struck out for the first out. Travis Hafner then knotted the game up at two with a double to left-center to score Brantley. Santana walked and Jack Hannahan was hit by a pitch to load the bases, ending Walden’s night and bringing in Takahashi, who induced a force out at home from Travis Buck from an overloaded infield for the second out. It was then that Kipnis lined the 1-0 game-winner through the right side off of the lefty reliever for his first career walk-off hit in just his second game in the Majors.
“I was thinking I couldn’t do it in my first three at-bats, why not now with everything on the line?” said Kipnis after the game. “Fortunately, it happened.”
Photo: Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer