CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Indians crept to two games back of the Detroit Tigers after beating the American League Central leaders 10-3 last night to take the first two games of a three-game series at Progressive Field.
The Indians unleashed a hitting barrage on Detroit starter Rick Porcello, with rookie Jason Kipnis leading the charge. The recent call-up from the Clippers went 5 for 5 for a Tribe team that collected 18 hits, eight for extra bases.
“He’s been very, very good,” manager Manny Acta said of Kipnis. “We’ve liked him since spring training. He’s a gamer, he’s a dirt bag. We’ve found our own (Dustin) Pedroia or (Chase) Utley or a mix in between. Those are the type of guys we want around here.”
Kipnis cracked a two-run homer in the second inning. He had three RBI and scored four runs to become the first Cleveland rookie to get at least four hits and score four runs in a game since Coco Crisp in 2003.
The second baseman continues his impressive run since arriving in the majors in July. Since July 31, Kipnis has hit all six of his home runs and is batting .363.
The 10 runs overshadowed a tremendous effort from Ubaldo Jimenez, who was making his first home start for the Indians. Jimenez (1–0) allowed three runs, all in the second inning, while pitching eight innings and striking out six and walking one.
“You have to come to the stadium every day expecting to win,” Jimenez said of being tossed into a division race in Cleveland after arriving from Colorado prior to the trade deadline. “Everything counts, like every pitch, every out, every inning.”
Kipnis wasn’t the only hitter helping Cleveland narrow the gap in the Central. Each starter had at least one hit.
The Indians scored five runs in the fourth after catcher Lou Marson broke an 0-for-19 skid with a double to the right-field corner. With one out, Kipnis singled home Marson and scored after an Asdrubal Cabrera single and a throwing error by Tigers center fielder Andy Dirks.
Two more would come around to score before the inning ended, but Porcello wouldn’t be in the game to see it.
A wild pitch allowed Cabrera to scamper in from third. Tribe first baseman Carlos Santana then crushed a double to left field. Manager Jim Leyland had seen enough and pulled his starter.
Porcello (11–7) lasted just 32/3 innings and gave up eight runs before being replaced by David Pauley.
“I was getting hit pretty hard; they were hitting balls in the gap,” Porcello said. “It was a combination of bad pitching and some good hitting.”
The Tigers put their only dent in Jimenez’s pitching line in the fourth inning. Detroit scored their runs after Victor Martinez got on base with a two-out infield single deep to short. It would have been an out had Santana been able to make the stretch and catch at first.
After picking up the win in Tuesday night’s 14-inning marathon, Frank Herrmann pitched the ninth inning to close out Detroit.
The Tigers continue to struggle in Cleveland, where they’ve lost 13 straight games dating to last season. The Indians are 6-2 against their division rivals on the year with 10 more meetings, including a season-ending three-game series in Detroit.