One swing of the bat can flip the switch for an offense.
Despite being held scoreless for 12 consecutive innings, the Indians were able to break out of their funk and score three unanswered runs off two of the game's elite relievers to beat Kansas City 3-1 on Saturday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.
Kipnis laces critical two-out RBI
After Jason Vargas departed to six innings of shutout baseball, manager Ned Yost turned to the late-inning tandem comprised of Joakim Soria and Kelvin Herrera to help keep a 1-0 lead intact.
Soria surrendered singles to Michael Brantley (33% hit probability) and Edwin Encarnacion (14% hit probability) before Jason Kipnis found the hole up the middle for a two-out RBI single to tie the game at 1-1.
Santana and Lindor go deep off Herrera
Triple-digit velocity and a sub-three earned run average did not phase Carlos Santana or Francisco Lindor as the two switch-hitters atop the lineup launched solo home runs vs. Herrera to claim a 3-1 advantage.
Four of Herrera’s five runs allowed this year have come via the solo home run.
Tomlin posts best start of 2017
Vintage Josh Tomlin made his way to the hill on Saturday with efficiency and a number of well-located pitches to finish with a line of 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 0 BB, 3 K (76 pitches, 56 strikes, 73.7%, eight groundouts, seven flyouts).
Once more, Eric Hosmer delivered the lone damage to the road nine’s starting pitcher courtesy of a RBI single to plate Lorenzo Cain in the fourth.
Gordon’s game-saving catch
A blooping line drive off the bat of Santana with two runners in scoring position appeared to be the base knock that would put the Tribe over the hump and put them on the board.
Alex Gordon had other plans.
The 33-year-old leftfielder made a full-extension dive to rob Santana of a two-run single in the top of the seventh.
Miller and Allen
After Kipnis delivered and evened the tally at 1-1, the ballgame was placed in the hands of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen in the eighth and ninth innings respectively.
Miller worked around an error and retired three of the four opposing batters he faced before Allen left two men stranded in a shutdown ninth for his 100th career save.
Central Division update
Boston’s barrage of scoring buried the Minnesota Twins (15-13) in a one-sided contest.
The Indians and Royals finish off their weekend set on Sunday at 2:15 p.m. from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
RHP Mike Clevinger (2017 debut) will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus prior to first pitch to fill the void left by the injured Corey Kluber (lower back strain). The 26-year-old is still battling through command issues after he walked 4.92 batters per nine innings in 2016.
LHP Danny Duffy (2-2, 3.89) is slated for his seventh start of the season after allowing six runs in each of his last two starts. Opposing hitters are batting .272 while Tribe hitters have a .303 lifetime batting average against Duffy.