Now Commenting On:

Francona likes Santana's approach against shift

Francona likes Santana's approach against shift play video for Francona likes Santana's approach against shift

CLEVELAND -- Carlos Santana took a look at Boston's extreme defensive shift in the sixth inning and the Indians catcher decided he would try to slap a pitch down the third-base line. On the first pitch from Alfredo Aceves, Santana took an awkward stride and ultimately checked his swing.

Watching from the dugout, Indians manager Terry Francona was reminded of one of his dad Tito's former teammates with the Tribe.

"Vic Davalillo," said a smirking Francona, referring to the diminutive outfielder who suited up for Cleveland from 1963-68. "I think [Santana's slap attempt] caught everybody by surprise. If he would've hit that, I don't know where it would've gone. Yeah, that was interesting."

Francona actually liked Santana's idea, considering the situation.

The Indians were trailing the Red Sox, 5-0, and Santana was leading off the sixth with sluggers Nick Swisher, Jason Giambi and Mark Reynolds set to follow him in the order. The catcher got out of his typical approach -- at least on the first pitch -- and wound up drawing a walk. Swisher and Giambi followed with back-to-back home runs.

"The idea is good," Francona said of trying to beat the shift. "When you're down, when you can't tie the game with one swing, getting on base is the most important thing. I've talked to [Giambi] about that a lot. He told me, 'Yeah, I've bunted before. I'm not too proud.' When you can't tie it up, I love it."

Francona paused, and then smiled.

"Now, again," he added, "I'm not sure about the footwork."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español