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Moss shows why Indians wanted his power

CLEVELAND -- Earlier this season, while mired in a slump, new Indians slugger Brandon Moss concisely summarized the nature of his game for reporters.

"I'm going to strike out," Moss said. "You guys better get used to that. That's not going to change. I've always struck out. So, if that's something you want to write about, write about it. But the difference is when I'm not striking out, the balls put in play are driven, they're not missed."

And Moss has struck out. In more than a quarter of his at-bats, he's struck out, and not many batters can say that. Not many batters want to be able to say that.

But Friday night's 7-3 win against Cincinnati showed why Moss doesn't care about the strikeouts. Why the Indians don't care about the strikeouts. And how Moss has always been able to produce at a well-above-league-average rate, despite all the strikeouts.

Moss put it best: When the balls are put in play, they're not missed.

He went 2-for-4 with a double, his team-leading seventh home run, a walk, a run scored, and three RBIs -- bringing his season total to a team-high 27.

Oh, yeah. And a strikeout.

Video: CIN@CLE: Moss drives in two on double to right field

"I would say he's been everything that we thought we were going to get -- or hoped," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Early on, you're going to get some strikeouts -- there's some swing and misses -- but he goes up there aggressive. It seems like he takes so many good swings that at some point, you're going to see some pretty loud contact. I mean, early in the game he just missed one and then he ends up just hammering two balls."

The third-inning home run gave the Indians a 3-2 lead. The two-run double the following inning extended the lead to 5-2.

Moss was aggressive. Moss was patient. An impressive seven-pitch walk came in the sixth inning after falling behind 1-2. But the homer came on a first-pitch sinker that Reds starting pitcher Mike Leake left out over the middle, and the double came on a 1-0 changeup.

"I'm looking for a pitch middle-middle," Moss said. "I'm kind of in between with whether I swing at first pitches or not. After I've seen a guy once and I'm leading off an inning, it's not always the best thing in certain situations. But he was struggling with his command so you know he was going to try to get strike one. I felt like, if he grooves you a pitch, don't take it, don't just let it go."

August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for
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