Oakland’s bats came alive against Zach McAllister while Tommy Milone and the A’s bullpen kept the Tribe’s offense quiet Tuesday night as the Athletics beat Cleveland, 7-0, shutting out the Tribe for the second game in a row. The loss drops the Indians to 55-74, 16.5 games behind in the AL Central.
McAllister started the game in style by striking out the A’s in order in the top of the first, but things went downhill pretty quickly from there. Seth Smith, Chris Carter, and Brandon Moss delivered with back-to-back-to-back singles to lead off the top of the second, give the Athletics a 1-0 lead, and put runners at first and second with nobody out. McAllister then got Josh Donaldson to fly out and fanned Derek Norris, but before he could escape the jam Adam Rosales came through with an RBI single to make it 2-0 Oakland.
The A’s struck again via the long ball in the middle innings. With two outs and a runner at second, Moss hit a towering shot over the center field fence for a two-run homer in the top of the third, and Chris Carter took McAllister deep for a solo shot to lead off the fifth. A flyout and a walk later, McAllister was out of the game after allowing Oakland to jump out to a 5-0 lead.
The score remained unchanged through eight innings as Tony Sipp and Esmil Rogers combined to throw 3.2 perfect innings while Tommy Milone, Jerry Blevins, and Pat Neshek kept the Tribe off the board. Joe Smith then allowed a pair of unearned runs in the top of ninth via an RBI double and a poorly timed wild pitch as the Athletics padded the score for a 7-0 win and the Indians got shut out for the second game in a row.
The Good: Tony Sipp and Esmil Rogers. From the time Sipp took the ball with a runner at first and one out in the top of the fifth through when Joe Smith relieved Rogers in the ninth, the two combined to throw 3.2 perfect innings, fanning six of the 12 batters they faced. It was a wasted effort, but it was a great performance nonetheless.
Also, Zach McAllister struck out eight Athletics in just over four innings of work and Carlos Santana went 2-for-4.
The Bad: Shall we start with the offense? The Indians had nine men reach base Tuesday night (eight hits and a walk) and not one of them came home. Missed opportunities included two on with one out in the bottom of the first and runners at second and third with nobody out in the fourth. It’s not easy to get shut out twice in a row.
Meanwhile, McAllister didn’t have his best stuff on the mound at all. Aside from the strikeouts, there’s nothing positive to glean rom the 24-year-old righty’s line for the night: five runs (all earned) on nine hits with two home runs and three walks allowed in just 4.1 innings against a not-very-intimidating offense.
The “Huh?”: I know I’ve complained about Manny Acta‘s reluctance to let Matt LaPorta play about a bajillion times, but at this point in the year I simply do not understand why he’s still getting benched for Casey Kotchman, as he was Tuesday night. Especially since Tommy Milone is left-handed! Even forgetting the facts that LaPorta has more potential and Kotchman is gone after the season and these games are meaningless so there’s no reason not to give LaPorta a shot, why would you go with Kotchman when LaPorta has the platoon advantage?
Interesting Tidbit: Per Jordan Bastian, the Indians’ current streak of 22 consecutive scoreless innings is their longest such run of the season.