CLEVELAND -- For the second time in this home stand, Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis provided what turned out to be the game-winning hit for the Tribe, as his RBI double in the seventh inning helped give them a 5-3 win over the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field Wednesday night.
With the score tied in the bottom of the seventh, Kipnis drilled a double to the gap in right-center field. As the Royals relayed the ball into the infield, Indians first baseman Nick Swisher rounded third base and headed for home. The relay throw was up the third-base line and Swisher scored standing up.
The Indians scored an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning when pinch hitter Lonnie Chisenhall blooped an RBI single down the left-field line and drove in David Murphy, who drew a walk to start the inning.
"That was a real big hit," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Kipnis' double. "They're working. They're hitting, and they have track records. Sometimes, you need a big hit at a big time, and tonight, we got it. The tack-on run was huge.
"We're sitting there in the eighth and we know (Jarrod) Dyson's leading off. He's one of the better base-stealers in the game, so having that second run was big."
The Royals got on the scoreboard first in the top of the second inning.
After left fielder Alex Gordon grounded out to Masterson, catcher Salvador Perez saw a 90-mile-per-hour four-seam fastball on the first pitch of the at-bat and sent it over the wall in center field. Then, four pitches later, third baseman Mike Moustakas blasted a solo shot to the Royals' bullpen in right field.
It was Moustakas' second home run into the Kansas City bullpen in as many days.
However, the Indians were able to answer with two of their own in the bottom of the second.
Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera started the rally with a single to left field. After consecutive fielder's choices off the bats of catcher Yan Gomes and third baseman Mike Aviles, center fielder Michael Bourn drove an 0-1 pitch deep to center field for a two-run triple.
Kansas City again took the lead in the top of the sixth inning when first baseman Eric Hosmer came around to score on Moustakas' RBI single to right field. Hosmer, who started the inning with a single to center field, advanced to second base on a fielding error from second baseman Jason Kipnis, and third, on a fielder's choice.
The Indians, once again, had an answer for the Royals in their next at-bat.
With one out, left fielder Michael Brantley singled to right field. With Gomes at the plate, Brantley took a long lead and stole second base. Perez threw the ball away into center field, and Dyson overran the slow-rolling ball.
The consecutive errors allowed Brantley to come around and score the tying run.
Kansas City put pressure on the Indians in the seventh inning, but the bullpen combination of Marc Rzepczynski and Brian Shaw worked out of the jam with no damage done.
With right fielder Nori Aoki on first base after a fielder's choice, second baseman Omar Infante drew a walk, but that is when Francona called on Rzepczynski. The veteran left hander struck out Hosmer, and then, Shaw induced a fly out to right field off the ball of designated hitter Billy Butler to end the threat.
Indians closer John Axford came on in the ninth and worked a scoreless inning for his American League-leading eighth save of the season.
"Like tonight, he stuck some fastballs," Francona said. "He really stuck them right where he wanted to throw them. When he does that, that makes that breaking ball so effective. He's got a few more walks to this point than he wants, but not lately. He's starting to really stick that fastball, which is good."