BALTIMORE: Over the last nine games, Travis Hafner has quietly become a consistent contributor to the offense again.
During this span, Hafner is batting .414 (12-for-29) with an on-base percentage of .564. What has been missing are the power numbers that Indians fans became accustomed to seeing next to his name. Hafner has only three homers and 10 RBI for the season heading into today's game against the Orioles. But he had one home run washed out during the May 7 rainout against the Tigers.
""Hafner is doing what he does when he's going good,'' manager Manny Acta said. ""He's hitting with two strikes. It's easy to identify when he's going good.
""What we always tell him is that he's not just a power hitter, but a hitter with good power. He uses the whole field when he's at the plate.''
Hafner also has regained his keen batting eye, accepting seven walks in his last nine games and 17 for the season, tied for second most on the club. Moreover, for whatever reason, he has become a target of opposing pitchers, having been hit seven times this season. Nobody else on the team has been hit moree than twice.
Elias Sports Bureau has determined the rarity of the Tribe's eight-run, ninth-inning rally to wipe out a 2-0 deficit against the Orioles Saturday night. Over the last 30 years, only two other teams have scored at least eight runs in the ninth after being shut out for eight innings.
Oakland did it to Cleveland on June 5, 1983 with eight runs in the ninth, and Philadelphia scored 10 runs in the ninth against Florida on Sept. 17, 2005.