Monday, May 15, 2017

Pat Valaika, Jason Kipnis Each Homer Twice In Wins For Rockies, Indians

Kipnis Powers Indians
Players of the Day for Sunday, May 14, 2017

American League

On a day in which 15 teams scored six or more runs (plus the Yankees and Astros, which each did twice via their double-header) and a total of 190 runs were scored, including 52 home runs, some impressive numbers were put up, but Cleveland's Jason Kipnis outdid them all in the Indians' 8-3 win over Minnesota.

Batting from his usual spot atop the Cleveland lineup, Kipnis went 4-for-5 with four RBI and two runs, doing most of his damage in the first three innings. To start things off, the scrappy second baseman led off the bottom of the first with a solo homer, giving Cleveland a lead they would not relinquish.

In the third, Kipnis belted homered with two aboard, completing the Cleveland scoring. Earlier in the inning, Carlos Santana also went yard. The two Kipnis homers were the first of the season. Kipnis had a breakout year in 2016, belting 23 homers and driving in 82 runs, both outstanding numbers for a player generally batting in the leadoff spot.

The win kept the Twins from sweeping the three-game series, though it did not prevent them from holding a one-game edge over the Indians in the AL Central.

Cleveland remains at home to open a three-game series with Tampa Bay, Monday at 6:10 pm. The Twins get Monday off and look to get back on the winning track Tuesday when they begin hosting a three-game series with Colorado.

National League

Valaika: 2-4, 2HR, 4RBI
The Rockies and Dodgers finished up their four-game series in Denver on Sunday, with nothing resolved as the two split the series, the Rockies taking the first game and Sunday's finale, 9-6.

The unlikely hero of the game was Colorado shortstop, Pat Valaika, who homered twice in four at-bats, each time with Carlos Gonzalez on base.

Valaika's four RBI came at opportune times for the Rockies. His first two-run belt came in the fourth, turning a 4-3 deficit quickly into a 5-4 lead for Colorado.

The second shot was in the eighth inning, with the Rockies clinging to a 7-6 lead. Valaika's homer provided the winning cushion.

A rookie, the home runs were his second and third. Having played in just 20 games (41 at-bats), Valaika is batting .268 and has nine RBI.

The victory put the Rockies back up by 1 1/2 games over the Dodgers in the NL West. Colorado heads for a three-game set in Minnesota starting Tuesday. LA opens a three-game series with the Giants in San Francisco Monday at 7:15 pm PT.

NOTES: There were 190 runs scored on Sunday,

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