The inability to finish off innings cost the Indians and their road woes continued as they were dfeated by the Oakland Athletics 8-5. The Indians (54-66) have now dropped 17 of their past 21 games and are only ½ game ahead of the Kansas City Royals who defeated the Chicago White Sox 9-4 for 4th place in the AL Central.
Corey Kluber (0-2, 6.27) took the loss but did not pitch poorly working 5 innings allowing 4 unearned runs on 4 hits while striking out 2 and walking 3. Frank Herrmann, Cody Allen, and Chris Seddon followed Kluber and allowed 4 runs in their 3 innings of work to put the game out of reach. The Indians pitchers were plagued by the inability to retire the final out of the inning as the A’s scored 7 of their 8 runs with 2 outs.
The victory went to Bartolo Colon (10-9, 3.43) who worked a stress free 8 innings allowing 1R/1ER on 5 hits striking out 3 without issuing a walk. The key for Colon was pounding the strike zone throwing 74 strikes in his 103 pitches delivered. A trio of Oakland pitchers worked the ninth inning and after the Indians scored 4 times to cut the lead to 8-5 Grant Balfour was summoned to record the game’s final out earning Balfour his 11th save on the season.
With the win the A’s improve to 65-44 and remain 4 games behind the Texas Rangers who defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 in the AL West and ½ game behind the Baltimore Orioles who defeated the Detroit Tigers 3-2 for the 2nd AL Wild Card.
The A’s plated 4 unearned runs in the bottom of the 3rd to take a 4-0 lead. The inning began with Cliff
Pennington reaching base on a throwing error charged to Asdrubal Cabrera who had made a nice play on a ball up the middle but Casey Kotchman was unable to corral the throw. After Pennington had advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and Coco Crisp drew a walk the A’s pulled a double steal which paid off immediately as a groundout by Josh Donaldson plated the A’s first run. With two outs in the inning Josh Reddick battled through a 9-pitch at-bat to drive a 2-run double to score Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes drove Reddick home by belting his 16th homer of the season to give the A’s a 4-0 lead.
The score remained 4-0 until the bottom of the sixth inning when once again the Indians were unable to close out an inning. Frank Herrmann had entered the game to replace Corey Kluber and after allowing a 1-out double to Chris Carter struck out Brandon Moss for the second out but was unable to bear down and get the final out before allowing a RBI single to George Kottaras to extend the A’s lead to 5-0.
The A’s answered the Indians run with yet another 2-out run in the bottom of the 7th inning. Cody Allen came in to replace Frank Herrmann with 1-on and 1-out and gave up a single to Josh Donaldson to put runners at 1st and 2nd before retiring Josh Reddick for the second out. Like Kluber and Herrmann before him, Allen was unable to end the inning without damage and surrendered a 2-out RBI single to Yoenis Cespedes to extend the A’s lead to 6-1.
Chris Seddon replaced Cody Allen and worked the 8th inning for the Indians and had trouble finding the strike zone and issued two walks in the inning but had 2-outs in the inning before giving up 2-out 2-RBI triple to Coco Crisp giving the A’s an 8-1 lead.
The Indians did not go gently into that night. Evan Scribner replaced Bartolo Colon and gave up a lead off single to Asdrubal Cabrera who came in to score on Shin-Soo Choo’s 15th homer of the season to cut the A’s lead to 8-3. With 2-out and Michael Brantley at first base Scribner was replaced by Jerry Blevins. Brent Lillibridge was brought in to pinch hit for Casey Kotchman and he delivered a 2-run homer of his own to cut the A’s lead to 8-5. Jason Donald followed with a pinch hit single to make things interesting for the Indians but Grant Balfour came in and struck out Ezequiel Carrera to end the ballgame.
The Bad: Asdrubal Cabrera committed his 16th error of the season leading to 4 unearned runs.