On a night when the Indians obtained starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez from the Colorado Rockies (in a deal discussed elsewhere on our site), the Tribe twice looked to be about to fall to .500 for the first time since they were 2-2.
But Michael Brantley’s eighth-inning single tied the game at 1-1, and then, after Kansas City regained the lead in the top of the ninth, Cleveland tied the game on Kosuke Fukudome’s first RBI — a sac fly with one out to score Orlando Cabrera — and then, with two outs and two on, Matt LaPorta went deep to left field for a walkoff three-run homer.
For one night and after several tense hours on and off the field, all is well and magical in Cleveland.
Tony Sipp got the win in relief of Justin Masterson, who pitched into the ninth and allowed just two runs on nine hits. Sipp allowed an inherited runner to score, but moves to 6-2 on the season, while the Royals’ Joakim Soria takes the loss to fall to 5-4.
After Kansas City scored in the first, it stayed 1-0 until the bottom of the eighth. Lonnie Chisenhall led off with a walk, and Aaron Crow came on in relief of Tim Collins.
A big passed ball moved Chisenhall to second, but the next two were retired before Brantley came through with the Indians’ first earned run since Tuesday.
Chris Getz put Kansas City back ahead in the ninth with a single, but in the bottom half, Asdrubal Cabrera was hit by a Soria pitch leading off, and after a force out at second off the bat of Travis Hafner, Carlos Santana’s double moved pinch-runner Orlando Cabrera to third.
That was when Fukudome came through with his fly ball to left, and after Chisenhall walked again, LaPorta sent Progressive Field into euphoria with his game-winner.
And so it is on to the rubber-match of this series on Sunday at 1:05. Let’s hope that the adrenaline from the big news and the big win tonight can carry over.
The Indians climbed back to within 1.5 games of Detroit, which lost to the Angels earlier on Saturday.