CLEVELAND — Jason Kipnis continued his hot streak and ensured a long night at the ballpark ended on a positive note for the Indians.
Kipnis’ leadoff home run in the 10th made Cleveland a 3-2 walk-off winner Monday night in a game that was delayed two hours and 23 minutes by rain in the middle of the fourth inning.
The left-hander’s drive to the seats in right field on a 1-0 pitch from Wily Peralta lifted the Indians to their 14th win in 19 games and their ninth in the last 11 — a victory that trimmed their deficit to 7 1/2 games in the Central Division standings.
Kipnis entered the night batting .448 (13-for-29) with a double, three homers and 13 RBIs over his last eight games.
“Sometimes a guy will get the feel,” manager Terry Francona said. “With Kip, I think it’s his hands. He has such good hitter’s hands that when he feels good, he gets pretty dangerous.”
The delay took both starting pitchers — Cleveland’s Adam Plutko and Kansas City’s Brad Keller — out of the equation.
Plutko was solid from the start, retiring eight of the first nine hitters he faced before allowing a leadoff homer to Whit Merrifield in the fourth inning.
The Indians managed three hits off Keller and threatened in the second when Kipnis led off with a single and advanced to third on a double to the right-field corner from Ramirez.
But Bobby Bradley and Roberto Perez struck out and Tyler Naquin grounded to first to end the inning.
When play resumed, the Indians went to work immediately.
Carlos Santana led off the fourth with a double to the left-field corner and scored the tying run on a one-out double from Ramirez.
Santana extended his streak of reaching safely to 19 games — 37 of 38 games — while Ramirez is batting .318 (14-for-44) with three doubles, two triples and a homer over his last 11 games.
“Josey looks like he’s starting to feel a little more like Jose,” Francona said.
A day after making his major league debut and collecting his first hit and RBI in his first at-bat, Bradley delivered again, driving in the go-ahead run in the sixth with a two-out double to the gap in right-center.
The Royals tied it again two innings later on Nicky Lopez’s two-out double off Nick Wittgren.