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Indians beat Mariners on walk-off grounder

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- It wasn't the prettiest walkoff win ever, but the Cleveland Indians will gladly take it.

Jason Kipnis scored from third base on a fielder's choice grounder hit by Mark Reynolds in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Indians edged the Seattle Mariners 5-4 Saturday at Progressive Field.

"It was a very uneventful walkoff, but a 'W' is a 'W'," said Reynolds.

It was a win with a different twist for the Indians, who have won 16 of 20 games since April 28. This one came just moments after Cleveland closer Chris Perez blew a save with two outs in the top of the ninth by giving up back-to-back home runs to Raul Ibanez and Justin Smoak that tied it at 4-4. For Ibanez, it was his sixth home run in his last seven games.

"We made it more exciting than it needed to be, but there's something to be said for being resilient," said Cleveland manager Terry Francona. "Rather than feel sorry for ourselves after getting punched in the stomach, we came back to win it."

Kipnis, whose walkoff three-run home run in the bottom of the 10th inning gave Cleveland a 6-3 win on Friday, led off the bottom of the ninth Saturday with a single off loser Oliver Perez (1-1). Asdrubal Cabrera then bounced a double off the left field wall, sending Kipnis to third. Nick Swisher was intentionally walked to load the bases with no outs.

Yoervis Medina relieved Perez, and Reynolds grounded to shortstop Brendan Ryan, who made a diving stop, but his throw home to catcher Jesus Montero failed to retire Kipnis, who scored the game winner.

"The throw beat him but Monty (Montero) came off the plate early," said Seattle manager Eric Wedge. "You have to stand on the plate. You have to, but he came out a little bit early. We got the ground ball we wanted, Ryno made a great play, but we didn't get it done."

Said Ryan, "I thought I had him. I did the best I could."

The Indians were one out away from a 4-2 victory when Ibanez and Smoak hit their back-to-back home runs off Perez with two outs in the ninth inning.

"Ibanez's was a mistake," Perez said. "I missed my spot terribly. I tried to throw one on the corner to Smoak but I missed high."

Wedge said, "You don't see that very often, to hit two solo homers off a top closer. And then they come back and snatch it."

Ironically, Perez's blown save allowed him to pick up the win. He is now 2-0.

Cleveland starter Zach McAllister held Seattle to two runs on six hits and would have seen his record improve to 4-3 had Perez not blown his second save of the season in eight chances.

Reynolds had an RBI single in the first inning and a home run in the fifth as Cleveland took a 2-0 lead after five. McAllister was dominant through the first seven innings, holding Seattle scoreless on four hits.

Left-hander Joe Saunders started for the Mariners, and Saunders typically doesn't fare very well on the road. He came into the game with a record of 3-0 and a 0.94 ERA in four starts at Safeco Field this year but 0-4 with a 12.54 ERA on the road.

Saunders gave up four runs on 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings.

The Indians took an early 1-0 lead on Saunders in the first inning on an RBI single by Reynolds. Saunders held Cleveland scoreless for the next three innings, but in the fifth inning Reynolds got Saunders again.

With two outs in the fifth, Reynolds belted his 12th home run of the season into the left-field bleachers to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.

The Indians extended their lead to 4-0 with a two-run sixth inning, one of the runs coming on an RBI single by Kipnis.

In the eighth, Smoak led off with a double off the left field wall. McAllister retired the next hitter, but the light-hitting Ryan then hit a 1-2 pitch into the left-field bleachers for his first home run since Sept. 23, 2012.

Ryan's homer cut the Cleveland lead to 4-2 and sent McAllister to the showers. Perez retired the first two batters in the ninth, but then Ibanez and Smoak homered to tie it.

Notes: Felix Hernandez, who leads the American League with a 1.53 ERA, will start for Seattle on Sunday. ... Ryan came into the Saturday's game hitting .163, with just one extra base hit in 110 plate appearances. ... Right-hander Justin Masterson will start Sunday for the Indians against a team that has never beaten him. In 10 career appearances vs. Seattle, Masterson is 3-0 with a 3.67 ERA. ... Reynolds' home run was his first since May 9. In his eight games between home runs, Reynolds hit .130.
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