Slumping Indians shuffle order

Updated: May 18, 2014, 5:00 PM ET
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CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona made several lineup changes Sunday in an attempt to turn around the team's struggling offense but they resulted in more of the same for the slumping club, which fell to the Oakland Athletics 13-3.

The Indians have scored three runs or fewer 24 times in their first 44 games after Sunday's loss, which completed a three-game sweep at the hands of Oakland. Cleveland is in last place in the AL Central and has lost four straight and six of eight.

[+] EnlargeSantana
AP Photo/Jim MoneSlumping slugger Carlos Santana was one of several players moved around in the Indians' lineup Sunday.

Nick Swisher, the No. 2 hitter for most of the season, was moved to the sixth spot. Carlos Santana batted seventh after hitting cleanup in all 42 of his previous starts. Both went hitless Sunday.

Santana was hitless in four at-bats while Swisher was 0 for 5 and committed an error in the seventh. Swisher fielded a routine grounder to end the inning and was given a sarcastic cheer by the small crowd of 14,872.

Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall also had an error, giving the Indians a major-league high 45.

Francona has been reluctant to make changes, but thinks the time has finally come.

"We try real hard to never treat our team like a fantasy team, bouncing guys around," he said. "I want to have a lot of respect for where guys hit and why they're hitting where they're hitting. I think I got to a point where instead of being patient, I was being stubborn, and that's not good either."

Francona and bench coach Brad Miles talked about the changes for several hours after Saturday's 6-2 loss to the Athletics.

"This is not a lineup that's going to be in place for the rest of the year, but the hope is it can help maybe jumpstart us a little bit and make it a little easier for the guys who have struggled," Francona said.

Swisher and Santana, both switch hitters, have scuffled the first two months of the season. Entering Sunday's game, Swisher was batting .201 with three homers and 16 RBIs, and he was hitting .163 with no homers and four RBIs from the right side.

Santana was batting .156 with five homers and 13 RBIs, including a .140 average from the left side, entering Sunday's game.

"When they get going they're going to be guys who really help us, but in the meantime we have to piece it together a little bit better," Francona said.

Another reason Francona has been hesitant to make changes is several other hitters have struggled. Ryan Raburn, who hit cleanup Sunday, was batting .184 with no homers and eight RBIs before Sunday. The Indians are also playing without All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis, who has been on the disabled list with a strained right oblique since May 2.

Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, another switch hitter, was given the day off. He's batting .258 with three homers and 13 RBIs.

The Indians, who won 92 games and made the playoffs as a wild card team last season, already trailed Detroit by 9½ games in the AL Central entering Sunday's games. The teams open a three-game series at Progressive Field on Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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