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Francona will keep Tribe aggressive on bases

Manager OK with runners' choices on Saturday despite being thrown out 3 times
Special to MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- Cleveland likes to run. In fact, the Indians' 21 stolen-base attempts are tied for fourth in the Major Leagues. But something went wrong Saturday night.

Perhaps Orioles catcher Chance Sisco had done his homework. Perhaps Cleveland is still weary from its trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico, last week. The Indians attempted three steals in their 4-0 win over the Orioles at Camden Yards, and three times they were thrown out.

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BALTIMORE -- Cleveland likes to run. In fact, the Indians' 21 stolen-base attempts are tied for fourth in the Major Leagues. But something went wrong Saturday night.

Perhaps Orioles catcher Chance Sisco had done his homework. Perhaps Cleveland is still weary from its trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico, last week. The Indians attempted three steals in their 4-0 win over the Orioles at Camden Yards, and three times they were thrown out.

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Cleveland manager Terry Francona doesn't think the showing is symptomatic of a larger problem.

"I went back and I looked at it. I think they all picked good times to run. They were all bang-bang," Francona said.

Video: CLE@BAL: Francona discusses Clevinger's gem, 4-0 win

Michael Brantley was the first to fall victim to Sisco. He followed up Jose Ramirez's home run to start the sixth inning with a single, then attempted to snag second with Yonder Alonso batting. Brantley was called out just before Alonso went deep to put the Indians up by four.

Then, after singling to left field with two outs in the seventh, Francisco Lindor was called out at second trying to steal.

It was the call on Rajai Davis' ninth-inning attempt to swipe third base that irked Francona. Davis pinch-ran for Edwin Encarnacion, who reached base on a walk. When Alonso walked in the next at-bat, Davis moved to second. Davis took off for third with Yan Gomes at the plate, and Cisco fired to third baseman Tim Beckham, who applied the tag on time.

"Rajai was probably safe," Francona said. "The angle that showed he was safe wasn't on the replay system, so we wouldn't have gotten it anyway."

Video: CLE@BAL: Sisco throws out Naquin stealing second

The Indians went 1-for-2 on the basepaths on Friday, with Lindor reaching second safely and Tyler Naquin getting called out as the Orioles picked up the 3-1 victory.

Saturday's caught-stealings were easier to digest since Cleveland won, but don't expect the team to tone down its aggressiveness on the basepaths. The Indians have relied on the long ball a lot this season, so Francona is eager to diversify his team's scoring opportunities.

Worth noting

Right-hander Josh Tomlin, who has been dealing with a back issue, threw a side session on Saturday and will return to the rotation for the Indians' series opener against the Cubs at Progressive Field on Tuesday. Tomlin struggled mightily his first time out, allowing eight earned runs in three innings against the Angels on April 3. He last started April 10, throwing five scoreless innings against the Tigers. He came out of the bullpen for one inning last Wednesday against the Twins, allowing one unearned run.

Joshua Needelman is a contributor for MLB.com based in Baltimore.

Cleveland Indians