Jackson comes up big in win against Royals

Jackson comes up big in win against Royals

CLEVELAND -- May hasn't been too kind to Austin Jackson, as the Indians' outfielder missed most of the month with a left toe injury he suffered on May 1 in Detroit. But Jackson had a change of fortune in Sunday's game against the Royals, driving in three runs to help lead the Indians to a 10-1 victory at Progressive Field.

Jackson -- who was activated from the 10-day disabled list on Friday -- showed no signs of weakness in the series finale. He finished the game 2-for-3 in five plate appearances with an RBI double, a single and two sacrifice flies to help the Tribe's offense score 10 runs on 18 hits.

"Austin swung the bat very well today," Indians manager Terry Francona said after the game.

Both of Jackson's hits were driven to the opposite field, while both of his sacrifice flies were hit to center. His double in the fourth was a 102.3-mph drive, per Statcast™, to the gap in right-center field, allowing third baseman Jose Ramirez to score from first. Jackson began the day in center, but switched over to right later in the game, after Francona brought in rookie center fielder Bradley Zimmer to pinch-hit.

Jackson's sacrifice fly

"He's been doing this for a long time," Francona said. "But he did swing the bat very well. I think, just as important, he looks healthy, which is good. And he flipped over to right field and he handled that, too. That helps us, too, gives us a little more versatility."

Coming into the day, Jackson was 9-for-28 (.321) against Royals starter Danny Duffy in his career. Both of Jackson's hits came off Duffy, improving his career average to .367 against the left-hander.

Indians starter Josh Tomlin -- who pitched a complete game, only allowing one run on six hits -- said Jackson has worked hard to come back from his injury, and his performance at the plate proved it.

"I don't think people realize how much work goes into rehabbing an injury to come back," Tomlin said. "... You might not feel 100 percent when you first come back. So it is very rewarding to see [Jackson] work that hard, come back and contribute and help us win."

Jackson was signed to a Minor League contract in the offseason and made the team out of Spring Training. In 15 games this season, Jackson is 11-for-41 (.268) with five doubles, one home run and five RBIs.

"That's a good player. [Jackson] has been a good player for a while," said Tomlin. "He knows what kind of player he is. He knows how to push himself, when to push himself. He plays the game the right way. He deserves a lot of credit for today. He had a great day offensively."

William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.