Brantley heating up for Indians

Brantley heating up for Indians

Brantley heating up for Indians
CLEVELAND -- The Indians have gotten a lot of production from young infielders Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis in recent games. The duo combined for two home runs and six RBIs in Cleveland's 7-1 win on Friday night.

Michael Brantley is also on the list of young Indians who are playing well. Brantley doesn't have the home-run power of Chisenhall and Kipnis, but he's as hot as any hitter on the roster.

Brantley entered Saturday's game against the Twins with a 10-game hitting streak, during which he has hit .368 with three doubles and eight RBIs. The Indians center fielder entered the day tied with Texas' Adrian Beltre for the longest current hitting streak in the American League.

Brantley had a slow start this season after hitting .266 with seven home runs and 46 RBIs in 114 games in 2011. Brantley was batting just .196 as late as April 24, and he entered the month of May with a .238 average.

"At the beginning of the season, he was hitting a lot of balls hard right at people," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "That's part of the game, but he didn't panic. It helped that, last year, he played well up here. He knows that he's going to play every single day, so he had the confidence to come every day and continue to work."

Eventually, the hits started coming for Brantley, who has raised his average 22 points, to .277, during his hitting streak. Brantley already had 16 doubles in 195 at-bats entering Saturday, only eight fewer than he had in 461 at-bats last season.

And he's striking out less, which means he's putting the ball in play more. Brantley had only 18 strikeouts entering Saturday. He struck out 76 times last season.

"He's back in the groove and swinging the bat well," Acta said. "He's done a tremendous job."