8/18/2013 4:54 P.M. ET
Indians hope Asdrubal, Swisher start heating up
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- The Indians have endured hot and cold spells from both first baseman Nick Swisher and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera throughout this season. Cleveland has been waiting for the day that both players heat up at the same time.
In Saturday's 7-1 victory over the A's, Swisher and Cabrera each finished with two hits and two RBIs, providing a glimpse of their potential as run-producers for the Tribe's streaky offense. Indians manager Terry Francona is hoping it was a sign of things to come for the pair of switch hitters.
"That was nice to see," Francona said. "If he and Swish heat up together, that'll really jump-start us."
Heading into Sunday's game in Oakland, Swisher was batting .242 with 13 home runs and 40 RBIs through 107 games. Cabrera was hitting at a .234 clip with nine homers and 46 RBIs through 98 games this season for the Tribe. It goes without saying that both performances to this point have fallen short of expectations.
Swisher and Cabrera played a key role in Saturday's win, though.
Swisher belted a solo home run in the first inning and added a run-scoring single in the ninth. Cabrera contributed an RBI single in the first and an RBI double in the sixth. It marked the first time this season that both players had at least two hits and two RBIs in the same game. In fact, it represented just the ninth game this season in which they tallied at least one RBI apiece.
Cabrera's showing on Saturday was especially encouraging, because it helped the shortstop end an 0-for-20 slump in the batter's box. Francona noted on Sunday that Cabrera has been dealing with soreness in his right side for the past few games, but said the issue is not considered serious.
"Everyone knows he's going through a rough patch," Swisher said of Cabrera. "His numbers don't speak for how good a player he is. For him to just kind of get on the board and get those knocks, it has to be a major confidence booster. We're going to need him down the stretch for sure."
Stubbs looks back on Reddick's amazing throw
OAKLAND -- Indians outfielder Drew Stubbs resorted to an old baseball cliche when asked about the pinpoint throw that A's right fielder Josh Reddick used to throw him out in Saturday's win.
"You just have to tip your cap," Stubbs said.
When it comes to baserunning, that is something Stubbs does not have to do all that often. The fleet-footed right fielder made an exception for Reddick, who showed off a rocket of an arm to retire Stubbs at third base to complete an improbable double play in the fifth inning.
After leading off with a double, Stubbs tagged up at second when Michael Bourn pulled a pitch from Oakland's Dan Straily into right field. Reddick positioned himself perfectly and, after making the catch for the first out on the play, came up firing to third base. As Stubbs slid into the bag, there was only a small spot where Reddick's relay needed to be placed.
"And he hit it," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He's always had a really good arm, and he gets behind the ball. He's a lot stronger than he looks. You see him in his uni, but then you get up close to him and, man, he's a strong kid."
Stubbs was as surprised as anyone to be doubled up on the play.
"Yeah, that rarely happens to me," Stubbs said. "After watching the replay, it was kind of one of those deals where there was really one spot for that throw to be to get me out. He made a great throw and [third baseman Josh] Donaldson hung in there to make the catch."
Stubbs also saw his streak of 13 consecutive successful stolen-base attempts snapped in the second inning, when A's catcher Stephen Vogt rifled a perfect throw to second base to nab the outfielder. In the ninth inning, Stubbs let out a sigh of relief when he barely beat a relay to the plate on an RBI single to right field from Nick Swisher.
"I was like, 'Man, I've been kind of snakebit this game,'" Stubbs said. "I was able to beat that one out, fortunately."
Stubbs, who entered Sunday hitting .246 with seven home runs and 38 RBIs in 116 games for the Indians this season, went 4-for-7 with three doubles through the first two games of this series in Oakland. Over his past seven games, Stubbs had posted a .318 average for the Tribe.
"I've just started to kind of lock it in a little bit," Stubbs said. "Hopefully, that's some foreshadowing of a good stretch for me. I'm getting back to the middle of the field and putting some good swings on the ball."
Quote to note
"If I get more chances to steal, or a chance to take an extra base, with the way I run, I've got to keep putting pressure on the defense. If they throw me out a couple times, that's not going to stop me."
--Indians outfielder Drew Stubbs
• Cleveland entered Sunday having advanced a runner from first to third base (or home) 82 times this season (tied with the Angels for first in the American League). The Indians ranked fourth in the AL with a 77-percent success rate on stolen bases and fifth in the league with an extra-base taken rate of 42 percent.
"I think we're one of the best baserunning teams in the league," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It's hard to judge, I know, but going first to third, scoring, I think we're at the top of the league. I know we're near the top in stolen bases and we haven't been thrown out very much. I'm pleased.
"I don't want our guys running wild out there and running into outs. That doesn't help. But I think we've forced pitchers into mistakes because of our speed."
• During the ninth inning of Saturday's 7-1 win over the A's, left fielder Michael Brantley ducked before making a catch. During the play, a loud explosion -- the second of the night -- came from outside the Coliseum. Brantley saw fireworks going off above the upper deck as he tracked the baseball.
"It surprised me because I saw it," Brantley said. "I could see it from where I was, facing the ball. It was right over the stadium -- some fireworks. That's why it kind of scared me a little bit. It's something you're not expecting, to look up in the air and are looking at the ball and all of a sudden there's fireworks."
• The A's placed right-hander Bartolo Colon (left groin) on the disabled list on Sunday and changed their starting pitcher to lefty Tommy Milone. The switch allowed Francona the chance to put right-handed hitters Ryan Raburn (right field), Mike Aviles (third base) and Yan Gomes (catcher) in the lineup. Drew Stubbs moved from right to center field and center fielder Michael Bourn was given the day off.
• Raburn was in the starting lineup on Sunday after sitting out in seven of the past 10 games for the Indians. The utility man has been bothered lately by soreness in his right calf, though he said the problem has come and gone over the course of the past three months, and is not considered serious.