Lopez no slouch in big spots for Tribe

Lopez no slouch in big spots for Tribe

Lopez no slouch in big spots for Tribe
CLEVELAND -- The Angels chose to work around Jason Kipnis in the fifth inning Tuesday night to get to Jose Lopez. It seemed like a logical move, considering the Indians had a runner in scoring position, and Kipnis leads the team with 48 RBIs.

Lopez, though, made the Angels pay for their decision. Like he has many times this season, the third baseman came through with runners in scoring position, sending a double into the left-field corner to tie the game. Entering Wednesday, Lopez was 10-for-17 (.588) with two doubles and four RBIs in the last four games.

"He's unpredictable," outfielder Johnny Damon said. "You don't know if he's going to try to jump you or work the count. He's in a groove, and it seems like whatever he's swinging at right now is finding a hole."

Lopez has become one of the Indians' top run producers in recent months. He entered Wednesday's game hitting .270 with 27 RBIs in 152 at-bats this season. That gives him an average of one RBI for every 5.6 at-bats. To compare, Kipnis produces an RBI every 6.6 at-bats.

"He's got an approach that probably won't work as much with the bases empty," Indians manager Manny Acta said of Lopez. "He swings away. He's very aggressive. That's how you drive in runs -- swinging the bat. Lopey has been around, he's not afraid to go the other way, and he drives in runs. That's his nature."

Like many teams, the Indians have struggled to hit with runners in scoring position at times this season. But Lopez said he doesn't feel any extra pressure in those situations. Those are the at-bats he lives for.

"Pressure? No," Lopez said. "I go up there the same every time. I just try to hit the ball hard. I like hitting when somebody's in scoring position."