Jason Kipnis came through in the clutch and survived a mobbing from his teammates.
Monday night’s 1-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins in 10 innings wasn’t easy on any front for the Cleveland Indians.
Kipnis’ single scored Chris Gimenez and gave the Indians a much-needed victory after a 2-5 road trip.
Kipnis lined a 1-0 pitch from Brandon Kintzler (0-1) with one out to left-center to finally break up the scoreless game, sending the Twins to their 11th straight loss.
Cleveland’s second baseman faced another challenge after his game-winner. His teammates chased him into center field where they wrestled him to the ground and piled on top of him.
”It probably wasn’t my best idea to keep screaming `You guys can’t bring me down’ to the rest of them,” he said.
Cleveland has scored one run or less in seven of its last eight games, but that wasn’t a major concern following the game.
”At this time, it’s nice to get a win in any form,” Kipnis said. ”Hopefully the more wins we get, the more relaxed we can be.”
Indians manager Terry Francona isn’t picky about how his team goes about winning.
”We talk about it all the time,” he said. ”You want to be one run better. Winning 1-0 in extra innings is heck of a lot better than losing 1-0.”
Abraham Almonte pushed a bunt past Kintzler and beat the throw to first to start the inning. Gimenez fouled off two bunt attempts before poking a single through the right side with Almonte moving to second.
Third baseman Miguel Sano fielded Rajai Davis’ slow roller and tagged Almonte. Kipnis then hit the second pitch from Kintzler to end the tight game, which drew only 11,327 fans.
Zach McAllister (3-2) worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the 10th, retiring Max Kepler on a fly ball to end the inning.
The losing streak is Minnesota’s longest since Sept. 9-21, 2011.
Neither starter was involved in the decision. Trevor Bauer allowed five hits in six innings for Cleveland while Hector Santiago gave up three hits in 6 1/3 innings for the Twins.
Andrew Miller of the Indians struck out two with runners on first and third to end the seventh.
The AL Central leaders have struggled against the last-place Twins this season. Cleveland is 6-8 versus Minnesota and 29-9 against the rest of the division.
”When you’re trying to find a way out of something like this, you need to make your breaks or have things go your way,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. ”But that’s baseball, you never know from day to day if you’re going to be in a pitcher’s duel or a slugging contest.”