Kipnis, hitting leadoff for the first time this season, was 4 for 5 with two homers and four RBI, and the Indians woke up from an offensive slumber in an 8-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
Indians manager Terry Francona tinkered with the lineup after his team was held to three hits in each of the first two games of the series. While Francona says he doesn't have a crystal ball, the moves paid off.
"It's safe to say we were in need of a little shake-up," Kipnis said. "Over the last week we haven't been hitting the way any of us would like. We both felt it was the right time."
Kipnis, who had been batting sixth, homered off Hector Santiago (4-2) to start the game and hit a three-run homer in the third off Adam Wilk. The two-time All-Star missed most of spring training with a shoulder injury and wasn't activated until April 21.
"I kept saying that it's a matter of time, and it is, because he's too good. It was just nice to see," Francona said. "It kind of set the tone early."
Kipnis came in batting .155 with no homers and six RBI. He also singled in the second and eighth. Francona said before the game the move might jump-start his second baseman.
"I think he has a feel for when I'm coming around with my swing, just like I do," Kipnis said. "It's coming. Today was one of those ones where it all culminated and came together."
Trevor Bauer (3-4) allowed three runs in six-plus innings as the Indians broke a three-game losing streak.
Minnesota's four-game winning streak ended, but Jorge Polanco hit a solo homer in the seventh, giving the Twins a home run in 15 straight games, one short of the club record.
Santana, moved from leadoff to fifth, hit a solo homer in the third while Chisenhall, getting a rare start against a left-hander, added a two-run shot in the second.
Bauer blanked the Twins until the sixth, when Kennys Vargas hit a two-run double.
Santiago gave up six runs, including three homers, in a season-low 2 2/3 innings.
"I'll just wipe it off because it wasn't my best day," he said. "It was just a weird day. In the bullpen, I felt good. The first changeup to Kipnis kind of threw me off the rest of the way."
Daniel Robertson, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Columbus, had an RBI single during Cleveland's three-run third.
Twins center fielder Byron Buxton crashed into the wall and robbed Santana of extra bases in the sixth. Buxton lost his cap and sunglasses when he hit the ground, but got to his feet and ran off the field.
Santana spiked his helmet into the ground after watching Buxton, who made several outstanding plays during the series.
"In the moment, I was a little mad, but this happens in the game," Santana said. "He's tough. I don't want him to be catching another, especially for me."
"I don't know how it gets much better than that," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He's not going to have fear. That's just the way he is."
Indians: OF Brandon Guyer was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained left wrist.
Twins: RHP Phil Hughes opens a three-game series Tuesday against Colorado at Target Field.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco seeks his first home victory of the season Monday against Tampa Bay.
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