CLEVELAND (AP) — Jason Kipnis’ game-ending grand slam and 1,000th career hit came on one big swing.
“I couldn’t have drawn it up much better than that one,” he said.
Kipnis homered with one out in the ninth inning and the Cleveland Indians rallied for a 4-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.
Kipnis hit a 3-2 pitch from Ian Hamilton into the right field seats for his milestone hit and was doused with water buckets by his teammates as he conducted a postgame television interview.
While the Indians have already clinched their third straight AL Central title, the season has been a difficult one for Kipnis. He’s struggled at the plate and was moved from second base to center field two weeks ago.
“My head it still where it needs to be,” he said. “I’m fine. I’m still feeling good. I’m still feeling confident. The game is a metaphor for my season, too. I look for my openings, and where I can contribute and help out. It’s up to me whether I can stay ready for it.”
The Indians were held to two hits through eight before their comeback.
Josh Donaldson started the ninth with an infield hit. Pitcher Juan Minaya fielded the ball that rolled about 30 feet up the third base line, but Donaldson beat the throw to first. Chicago challenged the play but the ruling was upheld.
Pinch-hitter Yandy Diaz bounced a single through the left side that moved pinch-runner Rajai Davis to second.
Melky Cabrera popped up a bunt attempt to the mound that was caught by reliever Caleb Frare (0-1). Hamilton replaced Frare, but hit Yan Gomes with the first pitch to load the bases.
Oliver Perez (1-1) recorded the final out in the ninth for the Indians.
Daniel Palka homered for the White Sox, who remained winless at Progressive Field this season, falling to 0-8.
“Tough loss,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. “We were right there. We tried to give them everything we could. Kipnis gets a pitch that he drove out of the ballpark.”
Indians starter Carlos Carrasco struck out 11 in 6 2/3 innings, but gave up Palka’s home run to center with one out in the sixth.
Chicago’s strong pitching made the lead hold up until the ninth. Dylan Covey allowed two hits in six innings and struck out Yonder Alonso with the bases loaded to end the third.
White Sox slugger Jose Abreu was released from a Cleveland hospital Wednesday after being treated for an infection in his right thigh.
Donaldson, acquired from Toronto on Aug. 31, turned in two outstanding plays at third base, both against Ryan Cordell.
Donaldson went to his knees to make a backhand stop of a third-inning grounder, jumped to his feet and made a strong throw to first. He speared a hard-hit ground ball in the seventh and made another strong throw for the out.
The 2015 AL MVP is batting .167 (3 for 18) with four strikeouts in six games with Cleveland.
“Played the heck out of third base tonight, then he beat out that bunt,” manager Terry Francona said. “That was good.”
Donaldson played on consecutive days for the first time since joining the Indians. Francona said he’ll be off on Thursday.
Palka moved into a tie with Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. for the major league lead in rookie home runs.
TAKE IT SLOW
Renteria has no planned timetable for when Abreu will return.
“We’re not going to be in any rush to have him come back,” Renteria said. “It would be foolish to do so.”
The All-Star first baseman is batting .265 with 22 homers and 78 RBIs in 128 games.
Andrew Miller appeared in back-to-back games for the first time since coming off the disabled list on Sept. 10. He replaced Carrasco in the seventh and gave up a single to Yoan Moncada and retired Yolmer Sanchez on a fly ball.
Miller has been on the DL three times with hamstring, knee and shoulder injuries.
Ramirez, the Indians’ All-Star second baseman, was in the lineup a night after being hit on the left arm by Carlos Rodon’s pitch Tuesday. Ramirez was 0 for 2 with two walks.
White Sox: C Welington Castillo (left elbow), who pinch hit Tuesday in the ninth inning, was not in the lineup after experiencing soreness. Castillo hyperextended his elbow while swinging the bat during Chicago’s previous series in Baltimore.
Indians: Encarnacion (sore ankle) returned after missing two games and was 1 for 4.
White Sox RHP James Shields (7-16, 4.53 ERA) takes on Indians RHP Josh Tomlin (1-5, 6.49 ERA) in the three-game series finale. Shields leads the AL in losses.