Backup catcher homers, drives in three to extend hitting streak to seven games
By Kyle Beery
Special to MLB.com |
DETROIT -- Indians catcher Roberto Perez may not be an everyday guy, but he has certainly been playing like it lately. After going 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs during Friday's 10-0 win over the Tigers in the nightcap of a day-night doubleheader, he is now batting .435 with three homers and 12 RBIs during a seven-game hitting streak.
Perez's hot streak has coincided with the bottom part of Cleveland's order showing up night after night, and it hasn't gone unnoticed in the Indians' clubhouse. Manager Terry Francona said it has been fun to watch Perez's performance lately, along with Giovanny Urshela -- who doubled twice Friday, driving in two runs -- and Erik Gonzalez -- who recorded three hits and an RBI.
Perez said a number of players at the bottom of the order have been huge during Cleveland's nine-game win streak, and they've all taken similar approaches in stepping up for the team during the run.
"Especially when we don't play that much, we've just got to go in and take advantage of the opportunity," Perez said. "It's not always going to be the guys at the top of the lineup. We've just got to do our thing and make something happen. I feel like we've been taking good at-bats."
The last three spots of the Indians' order went 12-for-26 in Friday's sweep of the doubleheader.
"The roll that they've been on has been awesome," Game 2 winning pitcher Mike Clevinger said. "Even in the tough games, they've still had good at-bats throughout."
Perez is Cleveland's second-string catcher and doesn't get behind the plate every day, but Francona is impressed with the way he has shown up behind the plate as well.
Perez has taken initiative over the last few weeks in helping Clevinger stay near the plate when he's on the mound. He approached Clevinger about setting up in the middle of the plate, as opposed to trying to paint the edges before the Aug. 12 game at Tampa Bay.
Since then, Clevinger has gone 3-1 in five starts with a 2.08 ERA, including three scoreless outings.
Kyle Beery is a contributor to MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.