TORONTO -- Indians second baseman Orlando Cabrera made no excuses for the costly fielding gaffe he committed on Monday night. Truth be told, there was no excuse that would stand up as an explanation for what happened.
Cabrera had only himself to blame.
"Man, I lost focus yesterday," Cabrera said on Tuesday. "I just lost focus."
During a disastrous fourth inning in Monday's 11-1 loss to the Blue Jays, Toronto's Corey Patterson chopped a grounder to Cabrera. With the bases loaded and one out, Cabrera felt his only play was to relay the ball to second base for a sure force out, conceding one run.
The baseball skipped off Cabrera's hand, and he turned his back to home plate as he muffed the play. Cabrera tried to recover quickly, but he fumbled the ball a second time. Then, in a moment of frustration -- with his back still to the plate -- Cabrera continued to stab at the ball.
Eric Thames scored on the play, but Rajai Davis also took advantage of Cabrera's error. Davis moved from second base to third, and, noticing Cabrera was not paying attention, sprinted home to put the Indians in a 6-1 hole. Cleveland's deficit increased to eight runs before the inning was over.
"I was trying to get the out at second base, and after I dropped the ball," Cabrera said. "I looked to second base and I saw the guy was safe. I totally lost focus on the guy running from second to third, and going to home. By the time I realized, he was scoring.
"I think it was frustration, and I lost the instincts of where everything was in that moment."
The error contributed to a seven-run outburst by the Blue Jays, and that big inning did a number on Cleveland's chances at a comeback. Entering Tuesday, the Tribe had dropped five of its past six games, but still held a five-game lead over the Tigers for first place in the American League Central.
"The whole situation, what's happened to us," Cabrera said, "I blame myself for a lot of things. It's just another thing that I was involved in that was really bad. I was really mad about it."
Carmona's woes limited to few rough outings
TORONTO -- Indians manager Manny Acta hesitated when asked how he would characterize Fausto Carmona's performance up to this point this season. Acta did not want to describe the pitcher's showing as being inconsistent.
Toss out three ugly outings, and Carmona's season would look totally different.
"That's why I can't come out and call him inconsistent," Acta said on Tuesday. "He's had more good ones than bad ones. It's just that when he's had the rough ones, the amount of runs have really gotten to him.
"When he has struggled, he has struggled badly in those three games."
The three games Acta referred to were the April 1 and May 19 meetings with the White Sox, and Monday's loss against the Blue Jays. Combined, Carmona surrendered 25 earned runs over 12 innings.
In Carmona's other nine starts this season, the big sinkerballer has fashioned a 2.80 ERA (20 earned runs in 64 1/3 innings) for Cleveland. Another way to look at: Carmona has allowed 56 percent of his earned runs this season in only 16 percent of his total innings pitched.
Overall, Carmona -- the Tribe's No. 1 starter -- has gone 3-6 with a 5.31 ERA in 12 starts this season.
Carmona has, however, shown some improvement when it comes to WHIP (1.26 this year, compared to 1.31 in 2010), walks per nine innings (2.6 compared to 3.1), strikeouts per nine innings (5.9 compared to 5.3) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.27 compared to 1.72).
"I think he's done very well with keeping himself under control," Acta said. "It's not like he's walking a ton of guys or anything like that. It's been an inability of making certain pitches or not having consistency with his breaking balls."
Brantley gets reprieve from turf, starts at DH
TORONTO -- The good news is that, following this road trip, the Indians will not play on artificial turf again this season. Unfortunately, playing six consecutive games between Tropicana Field and Rogers Centre is not ideal.
"It's just too bad we had to do it six days in a row," Indians manager Manny Acta said on Tuesday. "But, we got them out of the way."
The current stretch through St. Petersburg to face the Rays and Toronto to take on the Blue Jays has forced Acta to alter his defensive alignment some. On Tuesday, for example, the manager slotted Michael Brantley in as the team's designated hitter for one game.
Brantley had started each of the past four games in the outfield.
"None of these guys are going to play every game on the turf," Acta said. "He deserves to have one day off for his legs."
On Monday, Acta also rested center fielder Grady Sizemore, who spent the three games against the Rays as a DH. For Tuesday's game, Sizemore was back in the starting lineup, batting sixth and manning center for the Tribe.
Acta chuckled when asked if he gave any advice to Brantley about DHing.
"He's got plenty of guys to talk about that," Acta said. "I talked to him yesterday, and he felt good about it. He was joking about it already. He'll figure out what to do. I think his legs are really going to appreciate this DH day."
Quote to note
"Every play resulted in moral devastation. If we stop them there, it's only five runs. We can probably get to six runs. When you see a big number up there, you feel like, 'Man, we have to do a lot.' At the same time, after it happens, you can't change it. You have to just move on. You just have to keep working, and never let a situation like that happen again." --Indians second baseman Orlando Cabrera, on his fourth-inning error in Monday's 11-1 loss in Toronto
Doube-A Akron first baseman Matt McBride was named the Indians' Minor League Player of the Week for the period of May 22-28. During that stretch, the 26-year-old McBride hit .370 (10-for-27) with two home runs, two doubles and seven RBIs in seven games for the Aeros. He had four multihit games and posted a 1.100 OPS (.433 on-base percentage and .667 slugging percentage).
Monday marked the 16th anniversary of Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter's first career hit in the Majors. How does this relate to the Indians? Cleveland pitching coach Tim Belcher, once a starter for the Mariners, surrendered that first knock in Jeter's journey to 3,000 hits. Jeter, who entered Tuesday 19 hits shy of that benchmark, singled to left off Belcher in the fifth inning against Seattle on May 30,1995.
Highly-touted infield prospects Lonnie Chisenhall (third base) and Jason Kipnis (second base) have garnered a lot of attention this season, but their Triple-A Columbus teammate, infielder Cord Phelps, is also piecing together an impressive campaign. Entering Tuesday, Phelps was hitting .319 with seven homers, 38 RBIs, 96 total bases and a .408 on-base percentage through 47 games for the Clippers.