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Raburn hoping for fresh start in second half

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DETROIT -- Ryan Raburn is hoping that the All-Star break will serve as a clean slate. Following a rough first half in the batter's box, the Indians utility man played a key role in Friday's comeback victory over the Tigers.

It was the kind of fresh start Raburn needed.

"In every way imaginable, it was huge," Raburn said, "for me, personally, and for the team."

Raburn came off the bench as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning on Friday night and delivered an RBI double that knotted the game at 3. Cleveland went on to score seven runs in the inning en route to a 9-3 romp over Detroit.

Indians manager Terry Francona was thrilled for Raburn, who ended the evening 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles.

"We need him," Francona said. "We can't run from guys like that. We've got to try to get them going. They all have their roles, and when Ray is hitting the way he can, man, it just makes us a different team. Last year, when he played, it was like having another cleanup hitter. That's the kind of numbers he was putting up."

Heading into Saturday's doubleheader in Detroit, the 33-year-old Raburn was batting .208 with two home runs, 18 RBIs and a .542 OPS through 56 games for Cleveland. Last year, Raburn hit .272 with 16 homers, 55 RBIs and a .901 OPS in 87 games for the Indians, who signed him to a two-year contract extension that includes a club option for 2016.

In the 10 games prior to the All-Star break, Raburn hit at just a .125 (3-for-24) clip, making for a rough end to a forgettable first half. He is hoping Friday's showing will help swing things in the right direction for the season's final two-plus months.

"Definitely. It's a new half," Raburn said. "Everything that's happened in the past is in the past. You can't change anything with that. You just have to keep battling forward. Hopefully, it turns around."

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.

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