Jason Kipnis went 5-for-5 with a homer and a double, Cleveland totaled seven doubles among their 18 hits and went 7-for-15 with men in scoring position, and Ubaldo Jimenez went eight strong innings with only one rough patch, as the Indians made it two straight in this series and 13 straight at home over Detroit with an impressive 10-3 victory on Wednesday night.
Kipnis became the first Indians' rookie since 1952 to score four runs and collect five hits in a single game, and that not long after he tied a Tribe rookie record with homers in four straight games. Not bad, kid, not too bad at all.
Jimenez (1-0, 5.54 ERA) showed a little bit of why he can be considered an ace, working out of a couple of jams along the way and not faltering after his one bad inning.
The Indians got off to a quick start in this one, scoring right away in the first inning. With one out, Kipnis singled, and with two outs, moved to third on a single from Travis Hafner. Carlos Santana delivered the big two-out hit with a single, and the Tribe led 1-0.
The second inning saw the Tribe go up by four. With one out, Lonnie Chisenhall doubled, and after Lou Marson’s grounder moved Chisenhall to third, Cleveland produced some more two-out magic, when Ezequiel Carrera doubled to make it 2-0. And then Kipnis delivered his sixth homer of the year with a blast to right, doubling the lead to 4-0.
After Jimenez worked out of a jam in the third inning wherein the first two Tigers reached, Detroit got back in the game in the fourth when Ryan Raburn’s triple scored Victor Martinez, and recently acquired Wilson Betemit drove in two more with a double, and suddenly the Tribe’s margin was just 4-3.
But in the bottom of the fourth, the Indians got it all right back and then some. Marson led off with a double, and, with one out, Kipnis drove in his third run of the night with a single to make it 5-3. Asdrubal Cabrera then singled, and when the ball was misplayed in center by Andy Dirks, Kipnis scored and Cabrera went all the way to third. Cabrera then scored on a Rick Porcello (11-7, 4.93 ERA) wild pitch, and the four-run margin was restored, at 7-3.
But the Tribe was not yet done.
After Hafner fanned, Santana doubled, and Kosuke Fukudome greeted reliever David Pauley with another double, scoring Santana and increasing the Cleveland lead to 8-3.
That made it five of the Indians’ eight runs scoring with two outs, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is producing in the clutch.
Jimenez showed his mettle in the sixth when he allowed a leadoff double to Miguel Cabrera and then retired the next three battlers on a grounder (moving Cabrera to third), a pop out and a strikeout to keep the Indians safely ahead.
Good, good job.
Kipnis led off the Indians’ sixth with the Tribe’s seventh double of the evening, and Kipnis’s fourth hit, leaving him a triple shy of The Cycle. But Cabrera flied out before Hafner came through with a single to center, scoring Kipnis and making it 9-3 Good Guys. After a force-out, Fukudome singled, putting runners at the corners, and Shelley Duncan delivered Cleveland’s 17th hit and 10th run with an RBI single, scoring Santana.
At this point, every Tribe starter had collected at least one hit.
Chisenhall fanned to end the inning, stranding a pair, but with a 10-3 lead, that seemed like a moot point at this stage of the game.
Kipnis missed his chance for The Cycle in the bottom of the seventh, but he did collect his fifth hit of the game with a single off of Daniel Schlereth. The hit barrage for the rookie raised his average to .295.
Jimenez kept cruising right along in the eighth, fanning two to reach six K’s for the night on 117 pitches.
(It was about this time that your writer thought "Oh please, Manny Acta, let someone get an inning of work in the ninth. Let’s not press our luck trying to get Ubaldo a complete game in his home debut.")
Having obviously read my mind, Acta brought in last night’s winning pitcher, Frank Herrmann, to wrap things up. Herrmann worked a 1-2-3 ninth, and the Tribe was within two games of the Tigers.
Tomorrow night the Indians get a shot at Detroit’s best when Fausto Carmona takes on Justin Verlander.
Oh how sweet it would be to win their 14th in a row at Progressive Field over the Tigers and to get to within a game of first.