CLEVELAND — An 8-year-old Indians fan with cerebral palsy had a wish straight out of Hollywood: He asked two of his favorite players to hit home runs.
And Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis sure know how to follow a script.
Before Saturday's game against the Twins, Niko Lanzarotta and his family were on the field watching the Indians take batting practice. The youngster met several players and asked Santana and Kipnis if they would hit knock one out of the park for him.
How could they say no?
Santana, who is Niko's favorite player, hit a two-run homer in the first. Kipnis added a two-run shot in the third. Niko's night was made complete when Cleveland defeated Minnesota 7-2.
Niko and his family live in suburban Strongsville. Niko was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at eight months. The Indians, who are fighting for a playoff spot, may want to give Niko a ticket for the rest of the reason. Cleveland has won all six games he has attended.
Niko came to the game with his parents, Mike and Kasia. It turned out to be a memorable trip for everyone.
"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."
Both players were pleased they were able to grant Niko's wish.
"They told me I was their favorite player, and I promised to hit a home run for him," Santana said.
"He must be a good luck charm for us two," said Kipnis.
OFF TARGET: Red Sox RHP Clay Buchholz, who hasn't pitched in the majors since June 8 because of neck and shoulder issues, allowed five of the seven batters he faced to reach base in his first rehab outing for short-season Class A Lowell against the Rays' Hudson Valley affiliate. Buchholz is scheduled to pitch again Friday.
KRUK FORCED OUT: ESPN analyst John Kruk left the television booth at Dodger Stadium after becoming dehydrated. Kruk, 52, was said to be stable and in good spirits.
ATHLETICS: RF Josh Reddick, who spent four weeks on the disabled list with a sprained right wrist, appeared to aggravate the injury in the sixth inning and left the game.
BRAVES: 3B Chris Johnson was scratched from the starting lineup with turf toe.
DODGERS: RHP Josh Beckett said he's ahead of schedule in his recovery from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery and expects to be ready for the start of spring training.
NATIONALS: RF Jayson Werth was in the starting lineup despite being diagnosed with an infection in his right foot.
RANGERS: CF Leonys Martin was not in the lineup after spraining his right ankle the previous night.
REDS: RHP Greg Reynolds was called up from Triple-A Louisville to make the start when rookie LHP Tony Cingrani went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained lower back.
ROCKIES: SS Troy Tulowitzki was rested after being bothered by soreness in his rib area.
WHITE SOX: RF Avisail Garcia left the game against the Rangers in the fourth inning after crashing into the fence while chasing Jeff Baker's two-run homer.