GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Carlos Santana hit a two-run home run off Tyson Ross, enhancing his chance of opening the season as the Indians’ starting third baseman and helping Cleveland beat the San Diego Padres 12-7 Wednesday.
Santana is moving from catcher to third base, where he is competing with Lonnie Chisenhall for the starting spot. He robbed Chris Denorfia of an extra-base hit with a leaping stab behind the bag.
“I thought Santana made two really good plays,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Sometimes during a game, you almost want to will the ball to go to him, but that’s not fair. He showed his arm. The more he plays the more comfortable he will be over there.”
Chisenhall singled and doubled in four trips as the designated hitter to help himself in the competition. He homered Tuesday against Arizona.
“We want to see the best out of everybody. That’s the goal,” Francona said. “I wouldn’t pull for anybody not to do good so we can have an easier decision.”
San Diego’s Xavier Nady, who is trying to win a job as the backup to Yonder Alonso at first base, doubled and scored in the fourth inning and tied the game at 4 with a home run off Marc Rzepczynski in the sixth.
“Xavier with his versatility as a first baseman, outfielder and a right-handed bat to spell Alonso at first base,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “He has experience in the National League. He might fit the bill.”
Cameron Maybin’s biceps injury opens a corner outfield spot for Nady with Will Venable expected to move to center field.
Cleveland’s Nyjer Morgan, who is trying to make it back to the majors after a year in Japan, left the game for a pinch runner after he doubled in the ninth. He had a problem with his left calf.
“We hope it’s just a cramp,” Francona said.
Corey Kluber, who was named by Francona after the game to start the second game of the season in Oakland, pitched three shutout innings until tiring in the fourth. Justin Masterson was named the opening day starter Tuesday.
“I think he kind of knew he was starting behind Masty,” Francona said. “It gives me a reason to brag about him. I think he deserves it. He is quietly becoming one of the best pitchers in the game.”