April 18, 2014

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Indians 5, Rangers 2: Jason Kipnis helps Tribe end bad trip with 2 straight wins

ARLINGTON, Texas — Jason Kipnis and the Cleveland Indians felt a lot better heading home for a day off after what was still a miserable trip overall.

Kipnis had a home run among his three hits, and the Indians got a series-clinching 5-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday, a night after ending an eight-game losing streak.

“Definitely a good way to end this trip that did not start the way we wanted it to,” Kipnis said. “It takes a little pressure off. You get a happy flight home, you get a day off, you get a little momentum on your side, you get to go home for a long homestand. I think everybody is ready to go home even more so now.”

The Indians hit the road after an 11-3 loss to Tampa Bay on June 2. They were then swept in three-game series at the New York Yankees and Detroit before losing the opener at Texas.

Now they get a day off before playing Washington on Friday to start a nine-game homestand.

“We went through a pretty bad stretch there,” manager Terry Francona said. “We played well tonight, and we’ll have a much needed day off.”

Mike Aviles also homered for Cleveland (32-33), which also won 5-2 on Tuesday after losing the series opener 6-3.

The Indians had lost 12 games in a row away from home. They had gone 0-4-1 in road series since taking two of three May 10-12 in an early series at Detroit, the only American League team with a better home record than the Rangers (19-10).

Ubaldo Jimenez (5-4) allowed one run pitching into the sixth, and five relievers finished it out for the Indians.

Rangers rookie right-hander Nick Tepesch (3-6) gave up five runs in five innings with five strikeouts.

“It’s just when he got the ball out over the plate, they were putting some good swings on it, not missing,” manager Ron Washington said.

“I thought he was sinking the ball extremely well, but when it didn’t sink, they put some good swings on it.”

The Indians went ahead to stay with two outs in the second when Jason Giambi was hit by a pitch and Aviles homered, his fourth this season, for a 2-0 lead.

An inning later, Michael Bourn had a leadoff infield hit and scored on Michael Brantley’s single.

Leonys Martin scored both runs for Texas. He led off the third with his third homer, and reached on an infield single in the ninth before scoring on Jurickson Profar’s double.

Jimenez, who had four strikeouts and four walks, was gone after Lance Berkman walked and Adrian Beltre singled to start the sixth. Reliever Rich Hill retired the only batter he faced before Bryan Shaw got the last two outs of the inning.

“Like we expect,” Francona said of the relievers.

Kipnis, who finished a triple shy of the cycle, hit his ninth homer on the first pitch of the fifth. Brantley then walked with one out and scored on a double by Carlos Santana to make it 5-1.

After a flyout in his first at-bat, Kipnis singled in the third. He had a hustling double in the seventh, when he hit the ball to left and slid headfirst into second to beat a strong throw by David Murphy, who had already thrown out one baserunner.

In the ninth, Kipnis reached on a strange double-play fielder’s choice. Runners on first and second base froze when shortstop Profar couldn’t quite catch a one-hopper. Profar threw to third for the force, and Adrian Beltre held the ball momentarily before realizing there was still a play to be made at second.

Bourn started the game with a single, but ended the first when he was thrown out trying to score on Brantley’s two-out hit. Murphy threw a strike to catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who held on through the collision at the plate. It was Murphy’s third outfield assist in his last eight games.

Notes

  • Vinnie Pestano pitched the ninth for Cleveland and needed 15 pitches to get out leadoff hitter Jeff Baker on a disputed play at first base.
  • Cleveland pulled C Lou Marson from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Columbus because of continued soreness in his right throwing shoulder.
  • Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler, out since May 18 because of bruised ribs and then a stress reaction in the same area on his right side, is scheduled to start a rehab assignment today at Double-A Frisco. He will DH the first game, then play at least two games in the field.
  • Texas LHP Michael Kirkman (recurrence of lymphoma) was transferred from the 15-day to 60-day disabled list.

Next up

  • WHO: Cleveland vs. Washington
  • WHEN: Friday, 7:05 p.m.
  • WHERE: Progressive Field
  • PITCHERS: Masterson (8-5, 3.68 ERA) vs. TBA
  • TV/RADIO: STO; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM

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