After injuries to Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore, the middle of the Cleveland lineup was left with a void, and manager Manny Acta decided to turn to center fielder Michael Brantley to fill the hole in the fifth spot. Brantley has been one of the squad's more consistent hitters this year, with a .294 average and 52 RBIs, and Acta is pleased that Brantley hasn't tried to adjust his swing since moving to the middle of the lineup, a spot typically reserved for power hitters. "We knew he wasn't going to change his swing," Acta said. "He's a very smart kid, very fundamentally sound, mature beyond his age. He knows not only how to handle himself but he has baseball knowledge. He comes from a baseball background. He's a coach's dream." Brantley went 1-for-4 Sunday against Oakland. Mariners: Smoak returns on hot streak
By the middle of July, first baseman Justin Smoak had been struggling so much that Seattle thought it would be best to send him down to Triple-A Tacoma. After 20 games and nearly a month with the Rainiers, Smoak compiled a .242 average with seven of his 16 hits going for extra bases. The stint in the Minors seemed to benefit him as Smoak is 5-for-16 since returning. "You figure out something that you feel works and try to stick with it," Smoak said. "That's something that in the past, things will be going well and I'll be trying to do too much and things started to hit the fan. You've got to be a good hitter before you can hit home runs. That's something that I'm trying to do now -- keep it simple and not try to do too much." Smoak went 1-for-3 with a walk in a win over the Twins on Sunday. Worth noting:
Cleveland leads the season series 4-1 and has outscored Seattle 27-21. The Mariners have allowed eight runs in their five-game winning streak.