For a team not known as an offensive juggernaut, the Cleveland Indians put together a remarkably clutch hitting performance last Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Catcher Carlos Santana hit a three-run homer in the top of the seventh to cap a five-run rally as the Indians came back to beat the Rays 10-6. The five seventh-inning runs, along with three in the fifth, all came with two outs, game-changing moments to be sure.
Santana's homer ended a long drought for the catcher – he had not homered since May 15 in a win over the Minnesota Twins, a stretch of 138 at-bats. It was the Indians' fifth consecutive hit in the inning with two outs.
"It means a lot to him because I know that's been weighing on him, especially the power drought that he's had," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "It's hard on those guys. He must be feeling a lot better. We're so much better an offensive club when Santana is contributing."
Santana's blast was the highlight but the two-out rallies were the real story. The Indians finished the evening 10-for-18 with two outs, accounting for eight of their 10 runs.
"That's what made me happy," Acta said. "It's been a while since we got into that. We were just yelling in the dugout, 'Come on! Two-out rally. Comeback. Let's go. Two-out rally.' It happened. The guys just put together some tremendous at-bats."
Unfortunately for the Indians, the good vibes didn't last long. The surprising American League Central contenders dropped their next four after the big comeback. Sunday's loss to the Baltimore Orioles dropped them below .500 for the first time since April 14 when they were 3-4.
Still, they're only 4½ games behind the Detroit Tigers in the tight Central and only four back of a wild-card spot. They begin a three-game series at home against the Tigers on Tuesday.
Ryan Zimmerman is as hot as you can get right now. The Washington Nationals third baseman had a week to remember as the team earned some breathing room atop the National League East division.
Zimmerman batted .500 last week after going 15-for-30, with five home runs, eight RBIs, nine runs and slugging 1.067. On Sunday, he went 3-for-5 with two home runs, three runs scored, and three RBIs in the Nationals' 9-2 win over the Braves.
He has hit safely in six consecutive games and nine of his last 10. During his six-game hit streak, he is batting .632 with four home runs, six runs scored, and seven RBIs.
Zimmerman is on pace for his best season since 2009 when he hit 33 homers, drove in 106 runs and was an All-Star and Gold Glover at third base.
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