Poor Start Too Much For Tribe To Fight Back; Athletics 12, Indians 7
By Craig Gifford
The Indians offense, little more than a rumor most of the season’s second half, proved to be a reality Thursday afternoon.
Unfortunately, for Cleveland, the pitching remained a mystery as the Oakland Athletics pounded Tribe hurlers for a 12-7 victory at Progressive Field. The A’s completed a four-game sweep, sending the bottoming-out Indians to their fifth straight loss, fourteenth defeat in 15 contests and 27th loss in the last 32 affairs.
“We had a lot better at bats today,” said Indians Manager Manny Acta. “We haven’t been very good at putting shut down innings up. We had innings where we scored and gave the runs right back. The bullpen scuffled a little bit.”
Things started well enough for the Tribe, now 55-76. Jason Kipnis led off the bottom of the first with his fourteenth home run of the season. Ace starter Justin Masterson shut out Oakland on one hit over the first two innings.
Then it all fell apart for Cleveland. Former Indian Coco Crisp tied the game at 1-1 with a third inning bomb. The A’s erupted for five tallies in the fourth. George Kottaras doubled home three runs. Cliff Pennington followed with a two-run blast to cap the scoring.
Oakland tacked on two more runs in the fifth before Masterson could record an out. That was the end of another disappointing outing for the Tribe’s number one starter. Masterson lasted just four innings, allowing eight earned runs. He walked two and struck out one.
“Justin just didn’t have it today,” Acta said. “The first time through the order, he did OK. He pitched behind in the count a lot.”
The Indians scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, putting the score at 8-3 through five frames. Jack Hannahan, who has struggled at the plate recently, had two hits, including one for an RBI in the fourth.
Cleveland’s first reliever, Chris Seddon, did little to stop the bleeding. He allowed two runs to cross the plate in the sixth, give the Athletics a 10-3 edge that was just too much for the Indians to come back from.
They tried, pulling within 10-6 on the strength of a three-run sixth inning. Kipnis drew a bases-loaded walk. Shin-Soo Choo singled to drive in the other two runs of the stanza.
Again, Cleveland’s pitching could not keep the A’s at bay as Oakland scored a run off Tony Sipp in the seventh.
Lou Marson singled home Cleveland’s last run in the eighth. Tribe closer Chris Perez, seldom used during this rough stretch, entered the ninth to get work in. He surrendered Oakland’s final score, a Josh Donaldson long ball.
The Indians will now welcome the Texas Rangers into town for a three-game series, beginning Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. with Cleveland throwing Ubaldo Jimenez against Ryan Dempster.