LaPorta redeems himself with winning blast

LaPorta redeems himself with winning blast

CLEVELAND -- For an example of how redemption can vanquish past struggles, look no further than Matt LaPorta.

With the Indians trailing the Angels, 2-1, in the ninth inning on Tuesday, LaPorta entered the batter's box with the bases loaded and none out. All the first baseman needed to do was hit the ball to the outfield to, at worst, record a game-tying sacrifice fly.

Instead, LaPorta beat a Jordan Walden fastball into the ground, resulting in a double play that left a pair of runners on with two out. Jason Kipnis then struck out to end the contest, the Indians' golden opportunity for a comeback having fizzled.

LaPorta said he became the focus of Tribe fans' frustration after the loss.

"It happens. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose," LaPorta said. "The guy a couple nights ago throws 99 mph. It's not the easiest at-bat. You can't let one day affect how you play the rest of the year. You can't be scared."

Baseball has a funny way of granting players second chances. LaPorta capitalized on his.

With two out in the ninth inning on Saturday, LaPorta barely cleared the left-field wall with a three-run, walk-off homer that beat the Royals, 5-2.

"That's the way I guess this game goes," LaPorta said. "You have to keep going out there and try to contribute."

LaPorta said he deleted his Twitter account after receiving backlash from angry fans. He said eight out of every 10 tweets directed his way were cordial, but others were so vicious he decided to cut ties with the social media avenue. Even after an outpouring of support following his heroics on Saturday, LaPorta said he has no intentions of restoring his account.

"People have their opinions," LaPorta said. "They feel strongly about their emotions about the game."

Manager Manny Acta said fan reaction is just a part of the game, and he's glad LaPorta got the last laugh.

"We expect a lot out of this guy," Acta said. "He had a rough night a couple of nights ago when he couldn't drive in that run. I'm pretty sure that whoever was booing three nights ago was cheering him on today."

LaPorta went 0-for-3 as the designated hitter in Sunday's 5-3 loss in the series finale.