Brett Anderson shut down Cleveland’s bats and Roberto Hernandez struggled and left the game with an injury Monday night as the Athletics beat the Indians, 3-0, in the opener of a four-game series at Progressive Field. The loss drops the Tribe to 55-73, a whopping 16.5 games behind in the AL Central.
The trouble started in the first. After Coco Crisp led off the game with a flyout, Stephen Drew singled to give the A’s their first baserunner. Yoenis Cespedes battled Hernandez for 13 pitches before hitting a line drive double to put runners on second and third with two outs. Seth Smith followed with a sacrifice fly to give Oakland a 1-0 lead before the Tribe even got to bat.
The A’s kept on rolling in the second as Josh Reddick led off the inning with a solo home run. Then, in the third, Crisp again made the first out, Drew reached base (this time with a walk), and Cespedes roped a double to right field, but this time Hernandez hit the showers after spraining his ankle while pitching to Smith. Chris Seddon entered the game and allowed an RBI single to Chris Carter before escaping the jam.
That was it for the scoring as Seddon pitched four more shutout frames before turning it over to Cody Allen, who kept Oakland’s bats quiet in the eighth and ninth. Meanwhile, Brian Anderson took a perfect game into the sixth inning (if you go by the instant replays rather than the umpires) and the Tribe couldn’t get anything going against Ryan Cook or Grant Balfour as the A’s cruised to a 3-0 win.
The Good: Chris Seddon threw 4.2 innings of scoreless relief (not counting the inherited run he allowed in the third), holding the A’s to just a walk and two hits. He got only one strikeout, but you can’t be too picky after he pitched more than half the game in relief.
The Bad: Roberto Hernandez’ injury supposedly isn’t too serious, but it’s always hard to see a player get injured. Hernandez had been struggling all game, as the Athletics rocked him for three runs on four hits and a walk in just 2.1 innings pitched.
Also, the Indians got shut out again. Brett Anderson looked great on the mound, but it seems like this offense is never going to come alive.
The “Huh?”: Anderson’s perfect game was still intact when Michael Brantley stepped to the plate with one out in the bottom of the fifth, and Brantley ended up reaching base safely on what would have been a groundout as umpire Jerry Meals blew the call at first base (it was clear from the replays that Brantley was out). It’s been two years since Armando Galarraga‘s infamous “imperfect game,” and blown calls have also given us a false positive perfect game and an illegitimate no-hitter this season, so remind me why instant replay hasn’t been expanded?
Interesting Tidbit: Roberto Hernandez has gotten a strikeout in only one of his three outings in 2012.