BALTIMORE -- A 2-for-6 day, capped by the go-ahead double in the 13th inning of an 8-7 win at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, brought Carlos Santana's batting average up to .153. But both Santana and Indians manager Terry Francona are starting to see something turn for the struggling hitter.
"In the last four games, I've been getting good contact," Santana said, "so I feel better."
Santana's 2-for-6 performance was his first multi-hit game since May 11 and just his third of the month. It also kicked a 1-for-17 slump that spanned the entire Tigers series and the final game of Cleveland's recent trip to Oakland.
Santana hasn't necessarily been hitting the ball poorly, though. Santana was robbed of a hit by O's third baseman Manny Machado in Thursday's game and hit a pair of balls to the opposite field that resulted in a flyout to right and a groundout to second.
Francona was worried that Santana would press in the 13th inning, after some would-be hits didn't drop, but Santana stuck to his approach, found a strike and ripped a double right over the third-base bag.
"I think it was nice for him to get rewarded for hitting the ball well," Francona said. "He started out the year and he just was struggling so much, then he has hit into some of the toughest ... he's hit some balls right on the nose and he's just getting nothing for it.
"It's got to let him take a deep breath a little bit."
Santana is still tinkering with his swing -- he said that right now it's different than it was last season -- but he isn't too worried about the slump that has now lasted almost two months. It just comes with the territory for a baseball player.
"I'm feeling good and I'm not frustrated," Santana said. "It's a long season and I'm working hard every day."
Hobbled Cabrera out of lineup against O's
BALTIMORE -- With an injured left knee and right foot hampering Asdrubal Cabrera, Justin Sellers started at shortstop for the Indians in the second game of a four-game series at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Friday.
Cabrera took a pitch off his kneecap during the final inning of Cleveland's 13-inning win against the Tigers on Wednesday. The foot injury is not related, but has been nagging at the shortstop for a couple of days.
"He's a little beat up," Tribe manager Terry Francona said. "He took that fastball right on the kneecap and his toe's been bothering him on the other foot, so he's pretty beat up."
Cabrera had an MRI on Friday morning and everything checked out, so he won't be a candidate to go on the disabled list yet.
"He's intact, but he's pretty sore, so we'll stay away from him tonight," Francona said. "I don't think you're going to see a ton of pinch-hitting tonight."
Sellers, Cabrera's replacement, made just his second appearance of the season on Thursday as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning of the Indians' 8-7, 13-inning win against the O's. Friday will be his first start since April 29, 2013.
On the mound for the Orioles will be the pitcher against whom Sellers made his first career start. On Aug. 12, 2011, while with the Dodgers, Sellers went 0-for-3 in his Major League debut against the Astros' Bud Norris.
The two also faced each other in the Hawaii Winter Baseball league in 2007 when Sellers was in the Athletics organization and Norris was a prospect for Houston.
"I had some good at-bats against him," Sellers said. "He's my buddy. I'm excited to face him. It should be fun. It's always fun."
• Injured second baseman Jason Kipnis made his first rehab start for Triple-A Columbus on Friday against Durham. Kipnis went 0-for-2 with an RBI groundout in the first inning. He was replaced by Audy Ciriaco in the sixth. Kipnis has been out since May 2 with a strained right oblique. He was batting just .234 before the injury.
• Nick Swisher was feeling tenderness on the inside of his right knee and was out of the starting lineup on Friday. Santana replaced the slugger at first base and Lonnie Chisenhall started at third.
• Despite back-to-back 13-inning games, Francona expects almost everyone in the bullpen to be available. Scott Atchison was the only relief pitcher that the manager said he likely won't use.
David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.