Yasiel Puig will take a seven-game hitting streak into Cleveland's series opener against the Los Angeles Angels on Monday in Anaheim, Calif., a key part of the Indians' lineup as they battle for one of the American League's two wild-card spots.
During the streak, Puig is hitting .310 (9 for 29) with three extra-base hits, his potentially potent bat possibly being the reason Indians manager Terry Francona did not pull Puig out of the game Saturday against the Twins when he failed to run out a ground ball back to the pitcher.
Puig took one step toward first base, then immediately turned around and started walking back to the dugout. Puig remained in the game and later doubled and scored.
"You know what? That's obviously not what we're looking for, and he knows that," Francona said. "That won't happen again."
"Santana was giving me advice that I need to run out every play, and I'm 100 percent with him," Puig said. "And I said sorry to him and said sorry to Tito. I'm supposed to run on that play. I don't know what happened in my mind. I stayed at the plate not running. Tomorrow is a new day and I need to run every play. That's not going to happen again."
Puig has not had success against the Angels in his career, mostly while playing for the Dodgers. He is hitting .240 with six extra-base hits in 79 plate appearances. He's played five games against the Angels this season, two while with the Reds and three with the Indians. In those five games, he's hitting .220 (4 for 18) with two extra-base hits.
Puig and his Indians teammates will face Angels rookie starter Patrick Sandoval (0-2, 4.91 ERA), who is looking for his first major league win when he makes his seventh appearance (sixth start).
Sandoval, 22, gave up just one run and one hit in his most recent start last Wednesday against Oakland. But he was pulled after 3 1/3 innings as manager Brad Ausmus is taking a cautious approach with Sandoval, who is approaching a career-high for innings pitched.
He's thrown 106 innings this season, including 25 2/3 with the Angels. His career high was set last year when he threw 122 1/3 innings, all in the minors.
Angels center fielder Mike Trout remains questionable for Monday's game because of a sore big toe on his right foot. Trout left the game in the fifth inning on Friday and appeared as a pinch hitter Saturday before leaving for a pinch runner after he was intentionally walked.
On Sunday, he was not in the lineup.
"I'm just trying to maintain the soreness," Trout said. "It's been sore for a while now. Just trying to see if I can go. It's still sore, but I want to be out there."
Trout is currently tied for the major league lead with 45 home runs. It is a career high and two short of the Angels club record of 47 set by Troy Glaus in 2000.
Shane Bieber (13-7, 3.24 ERA), who will make his 30th start of the season, leads the majors with three complete games, one coming in his only start against the Angels this season, when Bieber gave up two runs on five hits in a 6-2 win on Aug. 4, striking out eight and walking none.
For his career, Bieber is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two starts against the Angels.
--Field Level Media