ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Howie Kendrick doesn't care where he hits in the lineup, as long as he gets opportunities to drive in runs for the Angels.
Kendrick had a two-run single in his first game batting leadoff this season, Chris Iannetta hit a pair of RBI singles and Los Angeles beat Cleveland 6-4 Tuesday night to send the Indians to their fifth straight defeat.
"I don't put as much emphasis on leading off as everybody else might," Kendrick said. "I don't really think about it. I just try to treat it just like I would if I was hitting anywhere else. It's not like I've got to change my approach. I've been swinging the bat well and I've been seeing the ball well. I've hit anywhere from 1 through 9, so the biggest thing is just to keep the offense rolling and helping the team win games."
Kendrick became the fifth player manager Mike Scioscia has started in the leadoff spot. It was the 12th time he has started there in his nine-year career, the rest coming in 2010. Kendrick is 13 for 47 with two homers, 10 RBIs, four walks and eight runs scored when starting atop the lineup, and the Angels are 9-3 in those games.
Kendrick chased Corey Kluber with a two-run single to center in the fifth inning for a 4-0 lead after a walk to Collin Cowgill. That was the only official at-bat for the Angels' second baseman, who got plunked by Kluber's second pitch of the game, had a sacrifice bunt in the fourth and walked in the seventh.
"Scioscia's not afraid to mix things up with our lineup. Howie's a guy who's done it in the past, and he doesn't have any problem being in that situation," Albert Pujols said. "If there's anyone who can bat first, second, third, fourth or fifth, it's him because he puts the ball in play pretty well and he's a good guy to have up there with men in scoring position. He has a good vision of the plate and he doesn't strike out that much."
Cleveland lost All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis to an abdominal strain on his right side in the fourth inning after he grounded into a double play.
Jered Weaver (2-2) allowed two runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings, striking out six and walking one. The Angels' ace threw 90 pitches and was lifted after giving up four consecutive hits, including a two-run homer by Carlos Santana.
"He made pitches when he had to," said Indians designated hitter Jason Giambi, who struck out both times he faced the right-hander. "He knows how to pitch, which makes him tough. That's why we could never get the big inning against him. He always knows how to get guys out."