The Indians began a six-game road trip in Oakland on Tuesday night with a 4-1 victory over the A's. The trip figures to be a litmus test of sorts for an upstart Cleveland team that was expected to be an also-ran but instead has the best record in the major leagues at 20-8.
Tuesday's victory was the Indians' seventh win in a row, and it comes at the start of a trip that figures to get progressively tougher as it unfolds. After three games in Oakland, Cleveland will play three in Anaheim against the Angels.
Those two teams rank Nos. 1 and 2 in the American League in pitching, and the Indians will see the top two starters for each team on this trip. In the last two games of the Oakland series, the Indians will face Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson. In the last two games in Anaheim, Cleveland will face Jered Weaver and Dan Haren.
Still, the Indians have been up to any challenge thus far. They lead the American League in hitting and runs scored, and that's without any one player having monster stats.
In fact, two of their best hitters, Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana, have been in slumps since Opening Day. However, the offense has proved to be resourceful, which was the case again Tuesday night. The Indians were held scoreless through the first six innings, scored the tying run in the seventh inning, then added three in the ninth to win.
It's the fourth game in a row that the Indians have won in their last at-bat. During that streak, the big hits have come from up and down the lineup. The go-ahead run in the ninth inning Tuesday was driven in by veteran Orlando Cabrera, who was given a day off until entering the game in the seventh inning. Cabrera only had one at-bat in the game, but it was an RBI single in the ninth.
Cabrera's season so far is symbolic of the overachieving Indians. Quietly signed during the offseason, and thought to be near the end of his career, Cabrera has been a key contributor. He is second on the team with 18 RBI.
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