Unlike the clever saying in the commercial when opportunity knocks it does not wait around. Friday night the Cleveland Indians allowed countless opportunities to pass them by and as a result they were defeated by the Oakland Athletics by a final score of 3-2.
The loss drops the Indians record to 65-57 and they now trail the Athletics by 4.5 games in the hunt for the last wild card. The Baltimore Orioles remain 1/2 a game ahead of the Indians after falling to the Colorado Rockies by a final score of 6-3.
The Tribe did gain a 1/2 game on the Detroit Tigers who were swept at home by the Kansas City Royals. The Royals now trail the Tigers by 6.5 games for the AL Central lead and are 1/2 game behind the Indians for the wild card.
The Oakland Athletics pitching staff entered the night having issued the least amount of walks (301) in the Major Leagues but on Friday night they walked nine Indians hitters. Unfortunately, the offense was unable to capitalize on any of the numerous opportunities the walks had provided the team as not one of the nine runners that reached base via the walk scored.
According to Baseball-Reference Play Index this marks only the 3rd time this season that a team has drawn 9 or more walks while scoring 2 runs or less. On June 8th the Miami Marlins issued 9 walks in a 2-1 victory over the New York Mets. On July 28th the Houston Astros issued 10 walks to the Toronto Blue Jays who won the game 2-1.
The walks kept piling up and as the game went on it seemed as if the Tribe was a hit away from taking control of the game.
In the top of the 7th inning after Nick Swisher had singled home a run both Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley were walked to load the bases with 2-out but Asdrubal Cabrera flied out to right fielder Seth Smith.
Finally, in the 9th inning Carlos Santana drew a 1-out walk off A’s closer Grant Balfour. Mike Aviles pinch ran and advanced to 2nd base on a walk to Michael Brantley. With runners at 1st and 2nd Asdrubal Cabrera lined into an inning ending double play.
Justin Masterson (13-9, 3.59 ERA) coming off the shortest outing of the season pitched well in the loss. He worked 7.2 innings allowing 3R/ER on 7 hits striking out 4 and walking 1.
After giving up a 2-run homer to Yoenis Cespedes he wasn’t stressed until the 7th inning when with 2-outs he gave up a single to Steven Vogt and a double to Eric Sogard which scored Vogt from first to give the A’s the eventual go ahead run.