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Indians’ Jason Kipnis slams White Sox in ninth inning

CLEVELAND — Right-hander Dylan Covey pitched six scoreless innings and rookie Daniel Palka homered for the fourth time in three games to break a scoreless tie.

Everything was set in place for the White Sox to claim their first win in eight games this season at Progressive Field.

But it all unraveled in the ninth inning, when three Sox relievers failed to hold off the AL Central champions, who walked off with a 4-1 victory on Jason Kipnis’ grand slam.

“Tough loss right there,” manager Rick Renteria said after the Sox fell to 0-8 at Progressive Field.

Jason Kipnis of the Cleveland Indians celebrates with teammates after hitting a walk-off grand slam during the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field on September 19, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the White Sox 4-1. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

That was an understatement. Palka hit his team-high 26th homer against Carlos Carrasco, his fourth long ball in three games. The 1-0 lead held up until the ninth, when Kipnis got his 1,000th career hit in grand style.

Hamilton hit Yan Gomes with a slider on his first pitch to load the bases. Kipnis hit a 3-2 changeup into the right field seats.

“Hung a changeup middle in, wherever it was,” Hamilton said. “He saw it out of my hand and he hit it.”

The inning got rolling when Josh Donaldson reached on a swinging bunt single against Juan Minaya. With shortstop Tim Anderson taking a step toward second as pinch runner Rajai Davis make a start-and-stop break toward second, pinch-hitter Yandy Diaz bounced a grounder through Anderson’s position against rookie lefty Caleb Frare. After Melky Cabrera popped up a bunt to Frare, Hamilton entered and plunked Gomes.

Covey recorded 13 ground-ball outs and retired the last 13 batters he faced.

“That’s the best my stuff has been all year,” Covey said. “Just kept everything down.”

Covey, who returned to the starting rotation when top pitching prospect Michael Kopech went down with an elbow injury that will sideline him until 2020, had his best start since he threw 8 1/3 scoreless innings at Seattle on July 21. He allowed two hits, walked three and struck out five.

It was his fourth start without allowing a run but his first since he beat the Mariners in July.

“These guys have beat me before when I tried to climb the ladder with them,” Covey said. “Today I was like, ‘keep everything down’ and got what, 13 ground balls? I felt really good today.”

Palka, batting third in the Sox lineup the last two nights with Jose Abreu sidelined, connected against a tough customer in Carrasco, who struck out 11 and walked one in 6 2/3 innings.

“I was looking down in the zone, he was pounding me there all night,” Palka said. “Got one just up enough for me to get under it.”

Palka homered against two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber Tuesday.

“I don’t know if there is a better 1-2 combo back to back,” Palka said. “You don’t know which way the ball is going with them.”

The Sox (59-92) have lost nine in a row in Cleveland, dating to their last game at Progressive Field last season.  They are 3-12 against the Indians overall.

Kipnis, a Glenbrook North graduate, gave the Indians their fifth walk-off victory this season. It was Kipnis’ second career walk-off homer.

Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts, all looking, raising his major league leading total to 205.