Aviles comes through with game-winning RBI as Tribe edge Rockies
MAY 31, 2014 8:39p ET
CLEVELAND -- After guessing wrong on a ground ball during the seventh inning, Mike Aviles had a chance to redeem himself in the eighth of a tie game. His single to right scored Jason Kipnis with the go-ahead run as the Indians held on to beat Colorado 7-6 at Progressive Field on Saturday.
Take away the grounder and it was a pretty good day for Aviles, who was 3 for 4 with a home run and four RBI. Aviles got the start at second as Kipnis had the day off after playing a night game on Friday. Kipnis pinch hit for Jesus Aguilar to lead off the eighth and drew a walk then advanced to second on a Lonnie Chisenhall sacrifice bunt.
When asked if the RBI single in the eighth felt like redemption, Aviles said: "Yes because we got the win but a couple runs got charged to Atch (reliever Scott Atchison) which I'm not proud of.
"It was one of those situations where a lefty was on the mound and a lefty on deck. I'm just trying to be patient. I got the ball on the barrel and Kip was able to get home."
With the Tribe holding a 6-3 lead in the seventh and a runner on first, DJ LeMahieu hit a slow grounder that would have been a double-play ball. Except the ball went to right field instead of up the middle like Aviles thought it was going to go. By the time Aviles saw where the ball was, he had already committed and couldn't have made up ground. With the late afternoon start and the shadows on the infield, Aviles made the wrong guess. The next batter, Charlie Blackmon, hit a three-run homer to tie the game.
It was the second time in three games where an Aviles fielding gaffe could have had adverse effects. On Wednesday in Chicago, his throwing error in the ninth led to a walk-off win by the White Sox.
Earlier in the game, Aviles gave the Indians a 4-0 lead in the second inning with a three-run homer that just got over the left-field porch. Aviles didn't know it was a home run until he saw fans going for the ball.
"I figured it was gone. On a normal day I think it would have gone out," Aviles said. "With the way the wind was swirling you didn't know. All day it was changing direction. I got lucky right there."
Aviles kind of typified the Indians in May -- good at times and struggling in others. The Tribe was 15-13 in the month as Aviles played most of the games because Kipnis was on the disabled list. In 25 games, he batted .301 (28 of 93) with two home runs and 16 RBI. The RBI was the second-most by an Indians hitter in the month.
Over the past three games, Aviles has gone 6 for 10 with five RBI. He also has 10 RBI and has scored five runs over his last nine games.
Besides his versatility in the field, Aviles has batted five different places in the order. On Saturday he joined Yan Gomes as the only Indians players over the past five seasons to collect four RBI and three hits from the ninth spot in the order.
"Mike knows he is going to play more than the average guy that doesn't start," Terry Francona said. "Also when there are guys who go down he will get to play wherever that is on the field. He stays in shape so he can handle it.
"He may take a funny swing here or there but he leaned all over that ball (that was a home run in the second). To hit it out, there were some pretty well-hit balls that didn't get out."
Despite battling flu-like symptoms the past couple days, Trevor Bauer pitched six strong innings and gave up just two runs on four hits while walking one and striking out eight. This time it was the bullpen that squandered a four-run advantage in the seventh as Atchison and Josh Outman gave up home runs.
Michael Brantley went 0 for 4 as a pair of hitting streaks ended. He had a 19-game streak at home, which is the longest since Progressive Field opened, and had hit safely in 15 straight overall, which was the third-longest streak in the American League this season.