CLEVELAND -- A messy scene unfolded Wednesday evening at Progressive Field, where the Indians lost their grip on the type of fundamentally sound play that got them to this point. And that was before a blanket of rain mushed the field.
Cleveland's pitchers lacked control, issuing eight walks, and so did its defense. Lonnie Chisenhall had his mishaps in right field, while second baseman Jason Kipnis was charged with two errors in a 5-1 Game 2 loss to the Cubs that evened this World Series at one win apiece.
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Kipnis, a steady hand at the position for much of his career, bobbled a potential inning-ending grounder that resulted in an unearned run in the fifth, then scuttled a would-be spectacular play jump-started by middle-infield partner Francisco Lindor in the seventh.
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The gaffes sandwiched -- and dwarfed -- Kipnis' hustle double in the sixth, which gave the Indians their first hit of the night against Cubs starter Jake Arrieta and resulted in their lone run, with Kipnis later scoring on a wild pitch.
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"You know what? It was a bad game, for me at least," Kipnis said. "I've had them before. It's not the end of the world. All I can do is have a short memory and move on. Things happen, it's cold out there, you gotta keep the blood moving, and there are plays that need to be made."
First-pitch temperature registered at 43 degrees, but Kipnis would use neither the conditions nor his bum ankle, mildly sprained during Cleveland's American League pennant-clinching celebration last week, as an excuse.
It was such an unusual sight to behold, though, considering how well the Indians had done in producing tight, tense and well-played games in weeks prior. Cleveland's defense had just one error in its previous nine playoff contests.
Game 2 exposed the club's sluggish offense, which came away with only four hits. Kipnis, who was just 5-for-37 this postseason before his double, acknowledged as much.
"I think you've seen us in these playoffs where we haven't hit so well and somehow have still found ways to win games, and tonight the other team just did a good enough job of scoring more runs than we did, and it came back to haunt us without hitting," Kipnis said. "It's obviously a frustrating time to be in a slump, when your team needs you the most, so it's nice to finally check in, but I'm going to need more than one hit if I'm gonna help this offense go."
While Kipnis cost the Indians an opportunity to escape the fifth unscathed -- instead putting runners at the corners for right-hander Bryan Shaw, who walked each of his next two batters to bring in the inning's third run -- he also noted he cost Lindor "a Top 10 highlight, I know that."
With none out in the seventh and a runner at first base, Lindor showed off his athleticism with a stellar diving stop on a sharp grounder off the bat of Addison Russell, making a backhanded flip toward second base, only for Kipnis to miss it.
"Outstanding play," Kipnis said. "One of those ones, I went to the bag, it was a high throw, but to expect him to go behind his back and hit me in the chest is ridiculous. I tried to push off and just missed it out of my reach."
"It's just part of the game," Lindor said. "It happens. Of course he wanted to make the play."
The Indians pitched around this one, but it still punctuated an awry night the club would do well in not replicating when the Series moves to Chicago on Friday.
"For us to win, we generally need to play a clean game," Indians manager Terry Francona said, "and we didn't do that."