Indians Give Up Six Unanswered and Waste Duncan Slam; A’s 6, Indians 4
By Bob Toth
After a four-run fourth inning, Cleveland allowed six unanswered runs the rest of the way and Oakland won their 20th game of the season in their last at bat, as the A’s stole a victory from the Indians by a final of 6-4.
With the score tied at four in the bottom of the eighth and Indians reliever Joe Smith (7-3) on the mound, A’s first baseman Chris Carter walked after falling behind in the count 0-2. Brandon Moss followed with a single to right-center, which ended Smith’s night. Vinnie Pestano relieved to face pinch hitter Josh Reddick, who singled to shallow left center to load the bases.
Third baseman Josh Donaldson, who entered the game batting just .167, fell behind in the count 1-2 against Pestano before singling to left, driving in the go-ahead run, Adam Rosales, who had pinch-ran for Carter. Derek Norris struck out for the first out of the inning before Cliff Pennington added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Moss from third just ahead of the tag from Indians catcher Lou Marson, giving the A’s a 6-4 lead heading into the ninth.
Donaldson had cnaonlinenow.net a career day for the A’s, with four hits (three singles, one double) in four at bats. He scored a run and drove in a pair, including the deciding run.
The Indians got on the board first in the fourth inning, with their first four batters reaching base. Carlos Santana got the inning started with a leadoff walk after fouling off several pitches from Oakland starter, Tommy Milone. Michael Brantley blooped what appeared to be a routine pop up to left, but Yoenis Cespedes never saw the ball and it fell in, pushing Santana to second. Jason Donald lined the next pitch into left field to load the bases with nobody out. Duncan worked the count full before driving a fastball from Milone over the wall in left field for a grand slam.
The homer was the eleventh of the season for Duncan and his first career grand slam. It was just the second grand slam of the season for the Indians.
The Athletics responded quickly in the bottom half of the inning off of Indians starter, Zach McAllister. Carter sent a 3-2 pitch into right-center field for a leadoff single. Moss forced the count full before drawing a walk. McAllister came back to get Jonny Gomes to strike out for the second straight time, but Donaldson sent the first pitch he saw off kitchenideasnow.net of the wall in left field for a double, scoring Carter from second. A fielder’s choice groundout to third by Norris scored Moss with the A’s second run of the inning, cutting their deficit to 4-2. Pennington singled to right after fouling off several pitches, driving in Donaldson from second and making it a one run game. A strikeout of Coco Crisp ended the A’s rally.
In the bottom of the fifth, the A’s tied the game up at four. After a fantastic sliding catch in foul territory by Jason Donald to retire Jemile Weeks, Cespedes lined a grounder down the left field line and into the corner for a double. He moved to third on his eleventh stolen base of the season and scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by Carter.
The rookie left-hander Milone exited the game after five innings and 95 pitches. He allowed four runs, three of which were earned, on six hits. He walked one batter and struck out six Indians hitters. After the Duncan slam, he retired six of the last seven he faced, three on strikeouts.
The Athletics’ bullpen shut down the Indians after Milone departed, allowing just one base runner and striking out five in four innings of work. Pat Neshek retired four straight, including the first two batters he faced on strikeouts. prenatalvitaminsnow.net Jordan Norberto (4-1) struck out a pair in an inning and two-thirds of relief, allowing just Shin-Soo Choo to reach base on a hit by pitch.
McAllister gave the Indians six innings, but allowed the A’s to crawl back into the game after the Duncan slam. He allowed four earned runs on eight hits, with a walk and six strikeouts.
“[McAllister] threw the ball okay. He battled,” said Indians manager Manny Acta. “His breaking ball wasn’t very sharp today. We allowed them to get back into the game.”
Cleveland (54-65) has now lost three in a row on this road trip and four of their last five games overall. Oakland (63-55) won their 20th game of the year in their last at bat. They have 31 come-from-behind wins, tied for second most in the American League.
Corey Kluber (0-1, 8.56) will take the ball for the Indians on Saturday as the two teams resume their three-game series. Kluber will make his fourth start of the year and his first since a 14-1 shellacking on Sunday versus Boston. Familiar face Bartolo Colon (9-9, 3.55) will oppose for the Athletics. He has won three of his last four decisions.
Game two from Oakland is scheduled for a 9:07 pm ET start and will be broadcast on SportsTimeOhio and the Cleveland Indians radio network.
Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images