CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Playing in front of their biggest home crowd by far since an opening day sellout vs New York, the Indians defeated the Mariners 6-3 with a walk-off homer by Jason Kipnis in the 10th inning.
The win puts the team at 23-17 on the season, the Mariners drop to 20-22 with the loss.
It was a game of ups and downs, as the Indians lead 2-0, and 3-1, but after Ubaldo Jimenez was lifted in the fifth, relief pitcher Rich Hill gave up a two-run homer to Raul Ibanez to tie the game.
After that, it was a game of bullpens, as the Indians went with five relief pitchers total, with Chris Perez pitching the 9th, and Vinnie Pestano got the win throwing a scoreless 10th.
The game looked like it was going to go at least 11, as the Indians were down to two outs in the 10th when Drew Stubbs walked off losing pitcher Lucas Luetge.
Luetge threw over, and Stubbs was already heading for second, and beat the throw. Michael Bourn got an infield single to set up Kipnis’ dramatic finish.
He hit a three-run blast just over the wall in left, sending the huge 34,282 faithful home happy.
It was the biggest crowd of the season outside of the sellout for the opener, and they enjoyed not only the win, but over 60,000 $1 hot dogs (a park record) and fireworks.
The team got another good start from number two pitcher in the rotation in Jimenez, but he ran his pitch count up with runners on early, and was gone just one batter into the fifth.
He went five plus innings, giving up two earned runs on seven hits, walked two and struck out a season-high nine Mariners.
He threw 98 pitches, 59 of which were strikes. The outing is the fifth straight in which he has not suffered a loss, the longest streak for Jimenez since 2010.
The Indians got two in the second when Jason Giambi hit a sac fly to score a run, then Carlos Santana scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0.
Game two of the four-game set will be at 1:05pm on Saturday, as Zach McAllister (3-3, 2.68) goes up against Joe Saunders (3-4, 5.51) for Seattle.