Santana continues hot second half for Tribe

Santana continues hot second half for Tribe

DETROIT -- The way Carlos Santana began his season was certainly a disappointment. A staple in the middle of the Indians lineup after hitting 27 home runs and knocking in 79 RBIs last year, the catcher started the 2012 season hitting .221 with five homers in the first half.

But since the All-Star break, the 26-year-old has been one of the few bright spots on the team. Entering Wednesday's series finale against the Tigers, Santana has been hitting at a .292 clip since the break with nine home runs and 31 RBIs.

"He's using the whole field better," said manager Manny Acta of Santana. "He's staying up the middle better. He's working really hard on that and it has showed."

His season average is up to .250, which is better than last season's .239 mark. Santana has found success while the rest of the offense has struggled, batting .233 as a whole since the break -- the second-worst average in the American League.

Santana's power is still down with 14 home runs in 119 games, but the Indians will take whatever he's doing as long as he's driving in runs. Santana leads the team in runs scored (30), hits (49), home runs (9), RBIs (31), walks (30), average (.292), on-base percentage (.406), and on-base plus slugging percentage (.924) since the break.

"Obviously not having [Travis] Hafner here, it puts a little bit more pressure on him because we need him producing," Acta said. "One guy makes a big difference in a lineup ."