Kipnis Feeling Grand with Walk-Off Shot Off of Sox; Indians 4, White Sox 1

The 2018 season has not been kind to Jason Kipnis, as he has struggled in the field and at the plate, lost his starting second base job, and is quickly trying to acclimate himself again to the role of center fielder. But milestones have also filled his season and he added a most memorable one on Wednesday night, as in the bottom of the ninth inning his 1,000th career hit landed deep in the seats in right field for a walk-off grand slam, giving the Indians a 4-1 win over the Chicago White Sox from downtown Cleveland.

With the bases full of Indians and one out against reliever Ian Hamilton, Kipnis fell behind in the count 1-2, worked the count back to full, and on the payoff pitch, jumped on a changeup dead red and blasted it to right. He leaned back and enjoyed his shot before a well-deserved trot around the bases and a home plate mobbing, complete with several Gatorade baths for the displaced veteran Kipnis and Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio host, Andre Knott, during the channel’s postgame interview.

Kipnis – Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Tribe set the stage in the ninth after struggling all game long against White Sox starter Dylan Covey and the Sox bullpen, getting just a pair of hits through the first eight innings. Juan Minaya, who struck out Edwin Encarnacion swinging to end the eighth, returned to the mound but Josh Donaldson showed that his injured calf was fine as he narrowly legged out an infield single back to the mound. Both managers played the matchup games, as Rajai Davis replaced Donaldson at first, left-hander Caleb Frare came on in relief for Chicago’s Rick Renteria, and Yandy Diaz grabbed a bat to hit for Yonder Alonso. Diaz greeted Frare with a single through the left side to move the tying run into scoring position. Greg Allen replaced Diaz as the potential winning run at first, but Melky Cabrera popped up a bunt attempt back to the mound. An infield fly was called for the first out as Frare attempted to let the ball drop for a potential force at third. Renteria returned to his bullpen for Hamilton, whose first pitch plunked Yan Gomes to load the bases, setting the stage for Kipnis’ dramatic swing six pitches later.

The crazy finale spelled a surprising end to a well-pitched game on both sides by Covey and Tribe starter Carlos Carrasco.

Carrasco pitched with traffic on in each of the first four innings, but kept those runners from advancing past second. He retired all three outs in the first on strikeouts, working around a two-out error by Francisco Lindor. Omar Narvaez started the second with a walk and moved to second on a groundout, but Carrasco’s fourth strikeout, followed by a grounder to second, left Narvaez stuck on the bases. Yolmer Sanchez singled with two outs in the third, but it was sandwiched around a pair of strikeouts to give Carrasco six through the first three frames. He was held without a K in the fourth, allowing Matt Davidson to get to second after a single and a wild pitch, but Carrasco again worked out of it.

Covey had to work a little harder as he escaped several early jams. In the first, Jose Ramirez reached with two outs on a walk and moved to third on a single by Encarnacion, but Donaldson grounded out to second. Gomes doubled in the second with two down, but Kipnis struck out swinging. Cleveland loaded the bases for the first time in the third, as Michael Brantley reached on a passed ball after his one-out strikeout and was joined on the bases by Ramirez, who walked for the second straight plate appearance. Encarnacion fouled out behind the plate before a Donaldson walk, but Alonso cut and missed on a third strike to leave the bases loaded and six men wasted through three. Covey retired the next nine in order over the next three innings to conclude his outing.

Carrasco was cruising along until the sixth, when the White Sox notched what looked to be a big hit at the time. After Carrasco won his battle with Sanchez by striking him out to start the inning, Daniel Palka drove a 2-2 fastball to the bullpen in right-center to give Chicago a 1-0 lead with his 26th blast of the year. Carrasco gave up a single to Narvaez with one out, but for the second time on the night recorded all three outs in the inning on strikeouts.

Kipnis – Jason Miller/Getty Images

Jace Fry retired five of the six batters that he faced in the seventh and eighth while the Tribe bats remained quiet. Carrasco turned the game over to his bullpen two outs into the seventh, with Andrew Miller giving up a single before getting a fly out to end the inning. Brad Hand struck out a pair in a perfect eighth, and Adam Cimber and Oliver Perez worked the ninth. Cimber allowed two to reach with one out on a walk and an error at second by Ramirez, but Perez cleaned up the mess with a strikeout looking by Yoan Moncada as he extended his Major League lead in Ks. Perez took home the win as the pitcher of record after his strikeout.

Carrasco allowed his first earned run of the season against the White Sox in three starts with the Palka home run. He lasted six and two-thirds innings, giving up four hits and a walk while striking out eleven. The bullpen combined for stellar work, allowing just two base runners while striking out four in the final two and one-third innings.

Covey pitched a gem in his fifth start of the year against Cleveland. He limited the Indians to just two hits and three walks in six scoreless innings, striking out five on the night. Minaya and Frare were each charged with a run in the ninth and the latter took the loss, despite the grand slam allowed by Hamilton.

The Indians as a team combined for five hits on the night and saved the biggest for last on the 1,000th career hit by Kipnis. Earlier in the season, he used an inside-the-park home run to reach 100 homers in his career.

Garcia and Moncada each struck out three times on the night. Moncada now has 205 on the year, the most in the Majors.

Cleveland will go for the series sweep on Thursday night on a busy day downtown. A pair of veteran right-handers will meet at center diamond, as Josh Tomlin (1-5, 6.49 ERA) makes his second start back in the rotation against James Shields (7-16, 4.53). Tomlin allowed two runs in four innings in his first start back against Detroit last weekend. Shields made his second quality start in the month in his last start, defeating the Baltimore Orioles on two runs over six innings.

First pitch from Progressive Field is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

Related Posts

Tribe Eliminated from ALDS in Embarrassing Fashion; Astros 11, Indians 3

A three-run seventh gave the Houston Astros their first lead of the day and a six-run eighth buried Chief Wahoo as the Cleveland Indians were swept out…

Bullpen Falters, Offense is Scarce as Tribe Pushed to Brink; Astros 3, Indians 1

On Friday, the story was the Astros hitting more homers alone than the Indians had total hits. That lack of offense again reared its head for the…

Homer Happy Astros Pummel Tribe Pitching for Game 1 Win; Astros 7, Indians 2

It is rarely a good sign when the opposing team has more homers than you have total hits, and that was the case for the Indians on…

Tribe Takes Home Win in Season Finale; Indians 2, Royals 1

In the final regular season tune up for the Cleveland Indians, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer combined for one-run, five-hit baseball in a 2-1 victory over the…

Bullpen Falters in Postseason Tune Up; Royals 9, Indians 4

The Cleveland Indians lost an inconsequential game on Saturday night, but could have lost much more after an injury to Yan Gomes led to several stitches. As…

Ten-Spot in Seventh Slams Tribe to Easy Victory; Indians 14, Royals 6

The Indians turned a tight 1-0 game into an eleven-run lead with a season-high ten-run inning in the seventh on Friday night on the way to a…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.