ANAHEIM, Calif. — As if the Cleveland Indians haven’t had enough problems on this West Coast trip, All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis strained an abdominal muscle Tuesday night and left the game after grounding into a double play in his second at-bat.
The rest of the game didn’t go much better for the Indians, who lost their fifth in a row.
Corey Kluber was charged with four runs in 4⅔ innings and Joe Smith got his second save in as many nights against his former teammates to secure a 6-4 victory for Jered Weaver and the Los Angeles Angels.
Kipnis, a first-time All-Star last season, is batting .234 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 26 games. He had 17 homers and 84 RBIs in 2013 — both career highs — in becoming the first Indians second baseman to lead the team in RBIs since Joe Gordon in 1948.
“Jason’s obviously a huge part of what we do, so keep our fingers crossed,” manager Terry Francona said. “I think the training staff is hopeful that it’s more of a cramping-type thing. When he shows up (today) and doesn’t have the adrenaline of a game going, and he’s gotten a chance to sleep on it, we’ll know a lot more. If it doesn’t feel worse, that’ll be a really good sign.”
Kluber (2-3) gave up four hits with five strikeouts and four walks. One of the runs he allowed was unearned, the result of shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera’s error on Chris Iannetta’s leadoff grounder in the fourth.
“Man, he had to work so hard,” Francona said of Kluber. “You could tell early on they knew he was going to work ahead in the count, so they were really hacking. I think their leadoff hitters got on in every inning against him, and he wiggled out of the majority of it by making some really good pitches. They were all stressful innings. When I’m keeping track of the pitch count, I always put an asterisk when guys work hard. And it was pretty much every inning.”
The right-hander escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth, retiring Albert Pujols on a popup after an intentional walk to Mike Trout and then striking out Raul Ibanez with the Indians trailing 2-0.
“He had good stuff. He kept the ball down and he has a couple of good weapons to put you away,” Pujols said. “He made a good pitch on me, and he didn’t show that pitch until that at-bat with the bases loaded. He got in a couple of jams, and we got a huge hit from Howie (Kendrick) to knock him out of the game.”
Kendrick, in the leadoff spot for the first time this season, extended the Angels’ lead to 4-0 in the fifth with a two-run single.
Iannetta had a pair of RBI singles in support of Weaver (2-2), who allowed two runs and eight hits in 5⅓ innings and tied a season high with six strikeouts. The right-hander threw 90 pitches and was lifted after giving up four consecutive hits, including a two-run homer by Carlos Santana.
“He made pitches when he had to,” said Indians designated hitter Jason Giambi, who struck out both times he faced Weaver. “He knows how to pitch, which makes him tough. That’s why we could never get the big inning against him. He always knows how to get guys out.”
The Angels put runners at the corners in the fifth with the help of a successful replay challenge by manager Mike Scioscia, after first base umpire Gabe Morales ruled J.B. Shuck out on a potential double-play grounder to second base that was corrected to a fielder’s choice.
“That’s why they put in the instant replays, to get some stuff right,” Weaver said. “Over the years, who knows how many plays have caused games to go in different directions? So it’s nice when those calls go our way, and we were able to capitalize on it.”
Shuck stole second, and Kendrick chased Kluber with his two-run single to center after a walk to Collin Cowgill.
Cabrera and David Murphy executed a double steal in the fifth as Weaver fanned Yan Gomes for the second out, but Michael Bourn also struck out. Bourn has three RBIs in 53 at-bats.
- Michael Brantley snapped an 0-for-17 drought with a double after Santana’s homer.
- Gomes also struck out with the bases loaded against Michael Kohn in the sixth.
- Cabrera and Santana had two-out bunt singles in the second and fourth, respectively.
- The Indians demoted Wednesday’s scheduled starter, RHP Carlos Carrasco, to the bullpen with an 0-3 record and a 6.95 ERA in four outings. RHP Zach McAllister will start on three days’ rest for the first time in his career after throwing 75 pitches over five innings Saturday in a loss at San Francisco.
WHO: Cleveland vs. Los Angeles
WHEN: Angel Stadium of Anaheim
PITCHERS: McAllister (3-1, 3.14 ERA) vs. Wilson (3-2, 3.69)
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM