Cleveland Indians manager Manny Acta is not a big fan of the sacrifice bunt, but that didn't prevent him from calling for one in the seventh inning Tuesday night, and it led to a victory.
Aaron Cunningham's suicide-squeeze bunt drove in the eventual winning run as the Indians beat the Detroit Tigers 3-2 in the first game of an important three-game series between the AL Central rivals.
Cleveland came into the game with just seven sacrifice bunts, the fewest of any team in the majors by a wide margin. The Indians are on a pace for 12 sacrifice bunts, which would easily be the lowest total in club history. The 1998 and 2008 teams each had 30 to share the low mark.
The Indians went into Tuesday's game with just one sacrifice bunt since May 1, a span of 76 games.
Acta's philosophy on sacrifice bunts is simple.
"I'm not a big fan of giving up outs. The teams that sacrifice bunt are usually the teams that are stacked and can afford to give up outs," he said. "We are not in that position, so I pick and choose my spots."
Acta says statistically the sacrifice bunt is overrated and misunderstood.
"Statistics show that a runner at first base and no outs has a better chance of scoring than a runner at second and one out," he said.
There are several National League pitchers who have more sacrifice bunts than the entire Indians team, but Acta showed Tuesday he can find key situations in which to call for a bunt.