The Indians actually managed to put some runs on the board Wednesday night after being shut out twice in a row, but it wasn’t enough as the Athletics rocked the Tribe’s pitching staff for eight runs en route to an 8-4 Cleveland loss. The Indians’ record now stands at a miserable 55-75, a whopping 17.5 games behind the White Sox in the AL Central.
It was Cleveland that started the scoring after two innings of a shutout stalemate. Jason Donald ripped the first pitch Travis Blackley threw in the bottom of the third inning out of the park for a leadoff homer to put the Tribe up 1-0. Ezequiel Carrera followed with a triple on the very next pitch to set up Jason Kipnis‘ RBI groundout. With three in the books, the Indians were up 2-0.
The lead wouldn’t last. Yoenis Cespedes led off the fourth with a base hit on Corey Kluber‘s first pitch of the inning and moved to third on Chris Carter‘s one-out double. With two on and two outs, Josh Donaldson took Kluber yard for a three-run homer that put Oakland ahead 3-2.
The A’s continued to pile on the later innings. Jason Donald missed the catch on a Donaldson grounder in the sixth to turn what would have been the end of the inning into a runners-at-the-corners one-out jam and Josh Reddick scored on a Derek Norris groundout. Then, in the seventh, Seth Smith doubled in Coco Crisp before coming home himself on Chris Carter’s RBI single to give Oakland a 6-2 lead. The Athletics got two more runs in the ninth on RBIs from Cespedes’ base hit and Reddick’s double.
For their part, the Indians managed to stage a late rally. A Shin-Soo Choo walk, a Lou Marson single, and a Donaldson error loadde the bases for the Tribe with nobody out; Choo scored on Brent Lillibridge‘s sacrifice fly and Marson came home via Casey Kotchman‘s groundout. But that was all Cleveland could muster as the A’s held on for a 8-4 win to send the Indians to their fourth straight loss.
The Good: Corey Kluber had one of his best outings yet, holding the A’s to three earned runs on eight hits in six innings pitched. He struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter. It’s a quality start, and it’s about as good an outing as the Indians can really expect from a starter at this point.
Meanwhile, Jason Donald went 2-for-4 with a home run and Ezequiel Carrera hit a double and a triple. And Jeanmar Gomez pitched a perfect eighth in the first relief appearance of his MLB career.
The Bad: Vinnie Pestano and Cody Allen combined to give up four runs on seven hits in two innings pitched. Particularly troubling is that this seems to fit a recent trend for both pitchers. Allen has now given up four runs in his last three outings after posting an ERA of 0.00 in his first 12 appearances, while Pestano has now given up six runs in his last five games.
The “Huh?”: Manny Acta pulled Carlos Santana from the game after the sixth inning after Santana didn’t give it his all while running to first base on a groundout. There’s nothing wrong with benching a player for not giving his best, but can you really blame him? This team has won only one game in the last two weeks, and while the season is all but over there’s still a month left to play. You can’t help but empathize with Santana.
Interesting Tidbit: The last time Jeanmar Gomez pitched in relief in a profesional game was August 18, 2006. That was more than six years ago, while he was still in Rookie ball.