CLEVELAND – Jason Kipnis’ run-scoring fielder’s choice in the ninth inning lifted the Cleveland Indians to a 2-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Friday night.
With runners on second and third and one out, Kipnis hit a hard ground ball to the right side. First baseman Adam LaRoche made a diving backhanded stop and fired a throw to catcher Kurt Suzuki, but Drew Stubbs slid in with the winning run.
Stubbs’ one-out single off Fernando Abad (0-1) started the rally before the Indians executed a perfect hit-and-run play. As Stubbs broke off first, Michael Bourn punched a ground ball through the hole that opened when Steve Lombardozzi went to cover second base. Stubbs advanced to third.
Joe Smith (3-0) retired the side in order in the ninth for the Indians, who have won three straight after losing eight in a row.
Cleveland starter Justin Masterson and Washington’s Gio Gonzalez both allowed one run in seven innings, but weren’t involved in the decision.
Masterson’s bases-loaded wild pitch in the third inning gave the Nationals their run. Gonzalez gave up a two-out homer to Ryan Raburn in the fourth.