Cleveland Indians infielder Mike Aviles knocked in four runs, including the game-winning score with a single in the bottom of the eighth inning, in the team's 7-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Progressive Field Saturday.
With pinch-hitter Jason Kipnis on second base with one out after Lonnie Chisenhall's sacrifice bunt, Aviles took a 1-2 pitch to right field for his third hit in four at-bats against the Rockies.
"In that situation, just knowing there's a lefty behind me with an open base at first, I was pretty sure he wasn't going to give me anything really, really good to hit, so I was just looking for something, hopefully, a mistake or something like that," Aviles told Sportstime Ohio after the win.
"I was fortunate enough to get a little spinner. I don't know if it was a slider, cutter or what it was, but it was definitely spinning. It just stayed up and I was able to get on top of it and just hit a nice little base hit to right."
In the bottom of the second inning, Aviles extended the Indians' lead over the Rockies to 4-0 when he belted a three-run home run to left field.
Aviles thought he got a pretty good piece of the ball, but Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez kept everyone guessing as to whether the pitch could get out of the park, as he ran to the wall and looked as though he could make a play on the ball. However, the ball went over the 19-foot wall in left for Aviles' third home run of the season.
"I think Cargo deeked everybody in the stadium because when I hit it, I knew it was good enough to get a sac fly," Aviles said. "As I'm running, I'm like, 'Wait a minute. I don't think he's going to get to that.' Next thing I know, I see Lonnie tag up. I look at Lonnie, and I'm like, 'Where's the ball? I think it went out. Lonnie, you've got to run.'"
Over his last four games, which have come in relief of Kipnis, who only recently returned to the lineup after suffering an oblique injury at the end of April, Aviles has six hits, five runs batted in and has risen his batting average from .256 to .280.
"Mikey knows that he's going to play probably more than the average guy that doesn't start, but when guys go down, that he'll get an opportunity to play wherever it is on the field," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
"He stays in shape. He can handle it, and he plays with energy. He may take a funny swing here and there, but he leaned all over that ball to hit it out today. He plays a real good defensive second base and just knows how to play the game."
In addition to Aviles and Chisenhall, the Indians got a lift from starting pitcher Trevor Bauer.
Bauer allowed two earned runs, four hits and only one walk against eight strikeouts in six innings of work, and was in line to pick up the victory until reliever Josh Outman gave up a three-run homer to right fielder Charlie Blackmon that drew the Rockies even with the Indians at 6-6 in the top of the seventh.
"For the most part, (he was) really good," Francona said of Bauer. "He had the one inning where he threw some cutters, and then were making adjustments to him also. He threw them up, over the plate and they hit the ball to right pretty hard. But then, he came right back through the heart of the order and had a quick inning.
"I thought he pitched in. He used both sides of the plate, and as he got into the game, he found his breaking ball. He was kind of spiking it early, but he competed. He's sick, so I don't think that helps anything, but he gave everything he had.
"He's not going to back off, like the one inning where he ran into trouble, he ended up striking out two of the best hitters in baseball (Gonzalez and Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki). He'll compete, and he's got the stuff to do it. Sometimes, younger guys, sometimes, older guys, they get a little erratic, and a lineup like that will make you pay for it in a hurry, as we saw."