Prior to the Indians’ 7-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday, an 8-year-old Tribe fan named Niko Lanzarotta had the fortune of meeting his two favorite players, Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis. Lanzarotta, who was able to watch batting practice with his family, also suffers from cerebral palsy. When the child was able to meet his idols, he asked them both to hit home runs for him during the game. They did.
“They told me I was their favorite player, and I promised to hit a home run for him,” Santana said of the Laznarottas who have reportedly witnessed Indians victories in each of the six games they have attended. “He must be a good luck charm for us,” Kipnis said.
Since the All-Star break, Kipnis is hitting just .246; Saturday’s home run marks just his third of the second half. The win set the stage for the Indians to take two of three games from their division rivals. After managing just one run in the previous night, Kipnis and Santana (who combined to go 3-for-6 with three runs scored and four runs batted in) paved the way for a much-needed victory as Cleveland sits 1.5 games back in the American League Wild Card race.
“It was an awesome experience,” Mike Lanzarotta said. “It was the best day of his life. To meet Carlos, to be that close, and for him to hit a home run. … To see your kid that happy is a great thing.”
(h/t Larry Brown Sports)