Jason Kipnis homered twice and drove in a career-high six runs as the Cleveland Indians hammered the Baltimore Orioles 14-7 in the opener of a four-game series Thursday night.
Kipnis hit a solo shot in the first inning, a three-run homer in the fourth off reliever Gabriel Ynoa (0-1) and was credited with two RBIs on an unusual fielder’s choice in a five-run seventh.
Cleveland trailed 5-1 before rallying, falling behind and then taking the lead for good on Carlos Santana’s hard-smash RBI single in the sixth. The Indians broke it open with five runs in the seventh.
Trey Mancini hit a three-run homer and Rio Ruiz had a two-run drive for Baltimore, which has lost seven of eight.
A.J. Cole (1-1) replaced starter Trevor Bauer in the sixth and picked up his first win for the Indians, whose bats have finally awakened in the past two games.
The Indians have been in an offensive funk all season, but they followed up a 9-0 win at Chicago on Tuesday with their most hits and runs in 2019 to successfully open an 11-game homestand, their longest of the season.
After blowing a four-run lead and falling behind 6-5, the Orioles snatched it back in the fifth on Stevie Wilkerson’s two-out, two-run double off Bauer, who allowed at least seven runs for the second time in three starts.
But the Indians bailed out their starter by scoring two in the sixth, the first on Kipnis’ double-play grounder before Santana lined a ball up the middle that ate up second baseman Hanser Alberto.
Cleveland then tacked on five in the seventh, with Kipnis’ high-hopper to second scoring two when the Orioles failed to record an out on what could have been an inning-ending double play.
The Indians have been hoping Kipnis would get hot, and he broke out with his best game this season.
His second homer, a towering shot to right off Ynoa, helped Cleveland overcome a four-run deficit. It was the fifth career multihomer game for Kipnis, who began the season on the injured list with a strained calf.
Mancini’s team-leading ninth homer in the third gave the Orioles a 5-1 lead. It was just his second homer since April 10 after he opened the season with six in 12 games.
Kipnis staked Bauer to a 1-0 lead in the first with his first homer, a shot into the right field seats off starter Dan Straily, who has allowed 10 of Baltimore’s 91 homers.
Orioles: LHP Richard Bleier (shoulder tendinitis) was activated from the 10-day injured list and appeared in the seventh. He had 14.54 ERA before being placed on the IL on April 11.
Indians: An MRI revealed more than a left calf strain for OF Tyler Naquin, who can’t do baseball activities for two weeks. Naquin, placed on the injured list Tuesday, has some swelling behind his knee. “He’s a tough kid who was probably playing through something he shouldn’t have,” manager Terry Francona said. … RHP Danny Salazar has resumed throwing side sessions in Arizona after receiving a cortisone shot in his shoulder.
Orioles: RHP Dylan Bundy (1-5, 5.31 ERA) has allowed 11 home runs this season after giving up an AL-high 41 in 2018.
Indians: RHP Jefry Rodriguez (1-2, 2.92 ERA) will try to make it two straight wins after getting his first with Cleveland last week in Baltimore. Rodriguez made his first career start against the Orioles in 2018 for Washington.