ST. LOUIS -- The Indians' lineup is not stacked with power hitters, and that's just fine.
Cleveland ranks 24th in the Majors with 47 home runs, and the Indians' .382 team slugging percentage ranks 25th in baseball. The more telling Cleveland stat is runs scored. The club is ninth in the big leagues with 257 runs this season, proving that you don't need to hit the ball far to plate runs.
"We just go out there and try to handle what we can control," center fielder Michael Brantley, who's riding a 16-game hitting streak, said. "We know we're going to have to create runs. We know we're not all going to hit 40, 50, 60 home runs, that's not gonna happen with this lineup. So we have to go out there and run the bases the right way and take the extra base and create some runs by stealing some bases as well."
The Indians collected 11 hits against St. Louis on Friday -- nine of them singles. Cleveland also reached base safely on thee errors by the Cardinals. Their scrappy style of play was evident when Shin-Soo Choo ran hard all the way on a routine grounder to Allen Craig at first base, and when Craig bobbled the ball trying to flip it to Jake Westbrook covering the bag, Choo beat out the play with ease.
"We took advantage of it," Indians manager Manny Acta said on Friday. "And that's the way you're supposed to play the game."
As Brantley noted, the Indians' 48 stolen bases this season are the second-most in baseball. They also boast a .332 team on-base-percentage, which ranks seventh in the league.
"We're fighters," Brantley said. "We're going to give good [at-bats] every time out and just grind it out till the end of the game."