OAKLAND -- Ever since Manny Acta took over as the Indians' manager, he has emphasized the importance of being aggressive on the basepaths. Do not confuse that to mean stealing more bases.
What Acta has preached is finding a way to advance more than one base on singles, and scoring from first base on doubles. A young Cleveland team struggled in that area a year ago. This season, the Tribe is one of the best in the business.
"We pushed it hard last year," Acta said on Wednesday. "Just like our season last year, it took a while for those guys to buy into it. They were too young, and a lot of times they were afraid to make mistakes. Then, we got into Spring Training and we continued pushing it.
"We worked very hard in Spring Training on going first to third, taking extra bases, and basically telling these guys we have nothing to lose, but a lot to gain. The game has changed a lot. There's a lot of people that you can challenge, and put pressure on the defense.
"So far, that's been our motto, just, 'Go three. Go three. Go three.' And go from there. Put yourself in scoring position. Everybody here is buying into it."
Entering Wednesday, baserunners were scoring at a rate of 34 percent, which was the second-highest percentage in the American League. The Tribe's runners had advanced more than one base on hits 41 percent of the time -- a touch above the 39 percent league average.
Entering Wednesday, Indians runners had had moved at least two bases on a single 16 times, which was four behind league-leaders Chicago and Seattle (20 apiece). Only the Royals (15) had more runners score from first base on a double than the Indians (13). Cleveland also ranked second with 23 runners scoring from second base on a single.
"The main thing is going first to third on base hits," Acta said, "and being able to score from first on doubles and having big secondary leads. There are some teams that have done that for years, and whoever does that thing right has some advantage."
Cabrera continues to rack up clutch hits
OAKLAND -- Orlando Cabrera has earned a reputation for delivering clutch hits. Early on this season with the Indians, the veteran has already come through with a variety of game-changing knocks.
Cabrera said his approach in critical situations is simple.
"I always see it as a win-win situation," Cabrera said. "I don't get paid to drive in runs. So if I don't do it, you guys forget about me. And if I do, you guys ask me about it. That's the way I've always looked at it."
Kidding aside, the 36-year-old Cabrera has either tied the game or given Cleveland a lead with eight of his 18 RBIs, entering Wednesday. On Tuesday night, after sitting on the bench for the first seven innings, Cabrera entered the game and drove in the go-ahead run in an eventual 4-1 win over the A's.
Through Tuesday, Cabrera was hitting .301 with two home runs and three doubles for the Indians as their primary No. 6 hitter. He was also hitting at a .310 (9-for-29) clip with runners in scoring position, and had a .308 average with two outs.
For his career, which has spanned 14 years and more than 7,000 at-bats, Cabrera has performed better when his team has trailed (.281 average) than when his team had a lead (.270).
Indians manager Manny Acta said it is all in Cabrera's approach.
"He's very calm and under control," Acta said. "He's been through every moment in baseball now already. He doesn't let any of those type of situations get to him. You can see his calmness at the plate.
"He's able to kind of slow the game down in those type of situations. Hey, it's only been a month and this guy has gotten a lot of big hits for us already."
Carrasco on track for Friday rehab start
OAKLAND -- Injured right-hander Carlos Carrasco is one step closer to rejoining the Indians' rotation.
On Wednesday, Indians manager Manny Acta indicated that Carrasco -- on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow issue -- is scheduled to make a Minor League rehab start for Double-A Akron on Friday. Acta noted that Carrasco's bullpen session earlier this week went well.
"He's in line to start over there for them on Friday," Acta said. "He hasn't been out for that long, so he's probably going to go out there and go four or five innings. He doesn't have to start all over with a pitch count."
Carrasco, who is 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA through five starts this year for Cleveland, exited his outing in Minnesota on April 24 after three innings due to soreness in his throwing elbow. He is eligible to be activated when the Indians return to Cleveland on Tuesday for a six-game homestand.
Acta said the current plan only called for one rehab outing for Carrasco.
"We have to wait to see how that one goes," Acta said. "If everything goes OK, I don't see why he has to go more than one. He hasn't been out long enough."
Tribe's late fireworks making history
OAKLAND -- Comeback wins have seemed all too common of late for the Indians. So much so, that Cleveland has done something that no Tribe team has done in nearly five decades.
Tuesday's 4-1 victory over the A's marked the fourth consecutive win that the Indians claimed in their last at-bat. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time Cleveland won four games in a row in its last at-bat was from July 2-5, 1962.
"The thing with our team is just we're resilient," Indians first baseman Matt LaPorta said. "We just continue to fight, keep attacking, keep putting pressure on, keep having good at-bats. That's really what we've been doing."
The four straight wins in their last at-bat actually equals a franchise record. Besides the similar run in 1962, the Tribe also accomplished the same feat in June of 1943.
Quote to note
"You can't be preaching aggressiveness and then be mad when somebody gets thrown out. That comes with it. You're always taking chances. It's not going to be 100 percent success."
--Indians manager Manny Acta
Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner was back in the starting lineup on Wednesday, ending a run of five games on the bench for the slugger. Hafner has been battling a strained tendon in the bottom of his right foot since Wednesday. "I can't tell you that he's at 100 percent running," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "But he can swing the bat." Hafner was hitting .342 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 22 games, entering Wednesday.
Jim Rosenhaus of the Indians Radio Network has been elected to the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame. Rosenhaus was the play-by-play voice of the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons from 1996-2006.
The Indians 20-8 record entering Wedensday marked the club's best start through 28 games in the franchise's 111-year history. Cleveland also opened with a 20-8 ledger in the 1999, 1966 and 1920 seasons. Only the 1920 Indians team improved to 21-8 through 29 games.
The Indians were the first team in baseball to reach 20 victories this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Cleveland has been the first team to reach 20 wins outright in a season on six occasions. The Tribe also accomplished the feat in 1999, 1954, 1952, 1920 and 1916.
Entering Wednesday, the Indians' Triple-A affiliate in Columbus had posted a 21-5 record while riding a 13-game winning streak. Combined, Cleveland Major League and Triple-A teams entered Wednesday with a 41-13 record.