St. Louis, MO – Jason Kipnis crushed a go-ahead three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning to help the Indians take a 4-1 victory over the Cardinals in the finale of a three-game interleague set at Busch Stadium.
With the game tied at 1-1 in the ninth, Jason Motte (3-3) came on for the Cardinals and served up a single to Johnny Damon to start the frame. Asdrubal Cabrera then walked two batters later before Kipnis crushed a fastball deep into the right-field seats to give the Tribe a three-run lead.
Vinnie Pestano (3-0) got the win after firing a scoreless eighth in relief of starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who allowed one run on five hits with seven strikeouts over seven innings of work. Chris Perez recorded his 20th save of the season by blanking the Cardinals in the ninth.
Joe Kelly was impressive in his Major League debut, allowing just one run on seven hits and one walk with four strikeouts over five-plus frames.
Carlos Beltran accounted for the only St. Louis run with a solo homer in the first as the Cardinals dropped two-of-three and failed on their seventh attempt to win a series against Cleveland.
"I'd like to see us more consistent, there's no question," admitted St. Louis manager Mike Matheny. "The guys are grinding, they're fighting. I'm going to continue to stay optimistic because that's what I believe."
Beltran's one-out blast deep into center field gave the home team a 1-0 edge, but Cleveland pulled even in the third as Shin-Soo Choo led off with a ground- rule double, moved to third on a groundout and came around to score on a sacrifice fly from Carlos Santana.
The Cardinals loaded the bases in the eighth on a trio of walks from Pestano, but the right-hander fanned the next two batters to keep the game knotted at 1-1.
"It just came down to who could execute late in the game," said Kipnis. "I thought Vinnie being able to hang in there and get those last two guys out saved the game for us and then we were able to get guys on versus Motte and turn it around."
Cleveland center fielder Michael Brantley extended his hit-streak to 18 games with a leadoff single in the sixth...Cleveland and St. Louis are battling for the first time since the Indians won two of three meetings at home back in 2009...The Indians are the only Major League team that St. Louis has never won a series against.