KANSAS CITY -- Tribe first baseman Matt LaPorta broke out of his 0-for-15 slump in dramatic fashion, launching his first career grand slam in Saturday's 6-4 victory over the Royals. But the fact that such funks have been rather commonplace for LaPorta speaks to the learning curve he is experiencing at the Major League level. LaPorta has had several stretches this season in which his bat seems to disappear, only to reemerge thanks to the kind of raw power he displayed with that poke. Consider this: Four of LaPorta's last seven hits have been home runs. That's a testament to LaPorta's power.
The problem, of course, is that those seven hits have come in a 17-game span. He entered Sunday's series finale in a 3-for-36 stretch. "[The struggles] are helping me get better," LaPorta said. "Everything is all good when you don't have to overcome anything. But for me, it's been nice to go through struggles, because you learn from your mistakes and you learn how to keep your head up through those tough times." Manager Manny Acta had given LaPorta a two-day breather to clear his head before his Saturday heroics. The Indians hope the grand slam was a sign of things to come.