Jeanmar Gomez looked solid in his first full start of the season and Cleveland’s hitters had a good night as the Indians (8-5) beat the Athletics (7-9), 5-1, in the second game of a three-game set in Oakland.
The Indians got to Oakland starter Brandon McCarthy quickly, loading the bases with one out on Jason Kipnis and Shin-Soo Choo‘s singles and Carlos Santana‘s walk. McCarthy managed to hold the Tribe to just one run (via Travis Hafner‘s RBI groundout), but it took him 25 pitches to get out of the inning.
The score held at 1-0 until the top of the sixth, when Jason Donald singled and stole second before scoring in Kipnis’ RBI single. The A’s responded with a run in the bottom of the inning as Yoenis Cespedes‘ sacrifice fly plated Cliff Pennington—it was the only run Gomez gave up, and it was after he’d already left the game. By the end of the inning the score was 2-1 Tribe.
The Indians got some insurance runs in the eighth in a big two-out rally. Donald and Michael Brantley reached base with back-to-back singles to set the stage for Kipnis’ two-run triple on a fly ball that right fielder Josh Reddick misplayed. Kipnis then scored on Brian Fuentes‘ wild pitch to make it a 5-1 game.
Meanwhile, Oakland’s offense was quiet for the rest of the game. The A’s threatened in the ninth inning as it became a save situation, but Tony Sipp, Vinnie Pestano, Jairo Asencio and Chris Perez kept them off the board to give Cleveland a 5-1 victory.
The Good: Jeanmar Gomez finally pitched more than two innings and he looked solid, holding the Athletics to just one run on four hits in 5.1 innings pitched. It would have been nice to see him last at least through the sixth inning given how overworked the bullpen has been couple more strikeouts would have been ideal, but that he issued only one walk was a good sign. Nice work in his first full outing of the season.
It was a good night for the offense, too. Five runs isn’t that big of a deal, but the Indians got 14 hits and worked three rare walks off of Brandon McCarthy. Including hits, walks, and hit-by-pitchers, Cleveland has gotten 36 baserunners in the last two games.
The Bad: You’ve got to be quite picky to find anything really bad about this game, but speaking of 18 baserunners, that the Indians scored only five runs given how many opportunities they had was a bit of a disappointment. Nothing to be concerned about, though.
The “Huh?”: With a 5-1 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth, Manny Acta handed the ball to Jairo Asencio, whose main role this year has been mop-up duty. It wasn’t a particularly close game, but it wasn’t out of reach, but Acta did not have anyone warming in the bullpen to be ready right away in case Asencio got into trouble.
Asencio did get into trouble. Three batters into the inning there were runners at second and third with only one out. The tying run was on deck, making it a save situation (I don’t think it’s a coincidence that that’s when Chris Perez started warming up) and as the leverage increased there was no one ready to enter the game. It ended up working out—Asencio struck out Kurt Suzuki, and then Perez came in for the one-out save—but just because it turned out okay doesn’t mean having Perez on standby earlier wouldn’t have been the better move.
Interesting Tidbit: Jack Hannahan spent a plurality of his MLB career with the Athletics, and he’s eaten Oakland pitchers alive ever since. After going 2-for-4 with a double Saturday night, he has a .333/.392/.622 career line against A’s pitching, plus three homers and 10 RBI in just 51 plate appearances.