Milton Bradley is best known for his prowess at the plate. Now, he’s building a reputation in the field.
The Indians enter the four-game series riding the momentum of Sunday’s 3-1 win interleague win over their Ohio rivals, the Cincinnati Reds.
“That was the best catch I’ve ever seen,” said Davis, who allowed one run and five hits over 7 2-3 innings. “My heart was pounding like crazy after that one.”
Bradley went 0-for-4 at the plate, snapping a streak in which he reached base safely in 31 consecutive games. Batting .344 (31-for-90) with two homers and 17 RBIs over his last 25 games, Bradley was only interested in talking defense Sunday, especially after flashing the leather in front of his boyhood idol, Ken Griffey Jr.
“I take so much pride in playing defense because of Junior Griffey,” Bradley said. “Watching him when I was young is one reason I play the game. He’s still one of the greatest. You might say my catch later (in the game) was inspired by him.”
Along with their regularly scheduled three-game series, the teams are making up a game that was postponed by rain April 6.
After their series with the first-place Royals, the fourth-place Indians embark on a four-game set with the Minnesota Twins, who are tied with Kansas City atop the AL Central.
Kansas City has lost two straight after a five-game win streak, including Sunday’s 13-6 setback to I-70 rival St. Louis.
Michael Tucker drove in three runs for the Royals, with a two-run homer and an RBI single. Tucker, who had three hits in Saturday’s loss, is batting .413 (19-for-46) over his last 12 games with nine RBIs and 12 runs scored.
STANDINGS: Indians - 4th place, 10 1/2 GB, AL Central. Royals - 1st place (tied), AL Central.
INDIANS PROBABLE GAME ONE STARTER: Cliff Lee (no record). Lee was called up from Triple-A Buffalo on Sunday to make his first start of the year. The 24-year-old left-hander, who spent the first two months of the season on the disabled list with a lower abdominal strain, was one of three players acquired from Montreal last season in the trade that sent right-hander Bartolo Colon to the Expos. In his last five starts at Double-A Akron and Buffalo, Lee went a combined 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA.
ROYALS PROBABLE GAME ONE STARTER: Brad Voyles (0-0, 3.60 ERA). Voyles was recalled from Triple-A Omaha and will also make his first start of his career. The Royals sent the 26-year-old right-hander down in early June, hoping to mold him into a starter. Voyles, who had a 2.48 ERA in 20 relief appearances in Triple-A, has pitched in three games for the Royals this season, yielding two earned runs over five innings. Voyles is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three career appearances against Cleveland.
INDIANS PROBABLE GAME TWO STARTER: Brian Anderson (4-6, 4.05 ERA). Anderson has pitched remarkably well over his last three starts, going 1-0 with a paltry 1.35 ERA. However, the left-hander hasn’t been getting much run support in those outings, including Cleveland’s 3-1 loss to Kansas City on Wednesday. Anderson didn’t figure in the decision despite allowing just one run and seven hits over eight innings. In eight career appearances against the Royals, including six starts, Anderson is 3-1 with a 2.98 ERA.
ROYALS PROBABLE GAME TWO STARTER: Kyle Snyder (1-4, 4.33 ERA). Snyder followed his worst start of the season with his best. After surrendering seven runs over just four innings of a 16-2 loss to Minnesota on June 19, the 25-year-old right-hander yielded one run and six hits over 7 1-3 innings Wednesday, but didn’t get a decision in the Royals’ 3-1 win. It was his first career start against Cleveland.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Indians - Bradley, .342 avg. and 13 SBs; Matt Lawton, 10 HRs and 38 RBIs; Bradley and Omar Vizquel, 40 runs. Royals - Mike Sweeney, .321 avg., 12 HRs and 50 RBIs; Raul Ibanez, 49 runs; Carlos Beltran, 19 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Royals, 8-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Indians - Cleveland is 6-32 against teams that are .500 or above and 26-15 against teams below the break-even mark. … The Indians optioned RHP Jake Westbrook to Buffalo to make room for LHP Lee. … Cleveland is tied with Detroit for the most errors in the AL with 67. Royals - Kansas City is 24-6 against divisional opponents. … OF Beltran is batting just .162 (6-for-37) over his last nine games. … RHP Mike MacDougal has already tied the Royals’ rookie record for saves in a season with 20 (Doug Bird, ’73) and is the first Royal to have 20 saves before the All-Star break since Jeff Montgomery (’93).
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Indians - 14-25 on the road; Royals - 21-17 at home.
INJURIES: Indians - SS Vizquel (knee), 15-day DL; OF Ellis Burks (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Jason Bere (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Dave Elder (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Bob Wickman (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Mark Wohlers (elbow), 60-day DL. Royals - 1B Mike Sweeney (back), 15-day DL; INF Mendy Lopez (calf), 15-day DL; OF Dee Brown (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Runelvys Hernandez (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Miguel Asencio (elbow), 60-day DL.