Athletics Keep Rolling with Late Rally Over Tribe; A’s 7, Indians 2
Bob Toth | On 30, Jun 2018
A 2-0 Tribe lead quickly turned into a 7-2 A’s blowout on Saturday afternoon as Oakland rattled off seven unanswered runs in a rout of Cleveland to claim a series win.
It was another one of those games for the Indians, whose road woes continued with an ugly loss in the Bay Area after holding an early lead against veteran right-hander Edwin Jackson, making his second start of the campaign. The two hits that led to both Tribe runs would be the only ones that Jackson would allow in six and two-thirds innings of work as he extended a long winning streak over the Indians to ten straight.
The day had started out well for the Tribe, which was the recipient of four perfect innings from Adam Plutko before things went sidewise. Before then, the Indians rode a pair of solo home runs in the third to take their lead.
Both starting pitchers had faced the minimum through three innings, but Francisco Lindor started the fourth inning by driving a 1-1 pitch 420 feet to right-center for a solo shot, his 20th of the year, to put Cleveland up, 1-0. Michael Brantley lined out to left, but Jose Ramirez made it a 2-0 game with his 24th home run of the season, sending a 2-2 fastball to right-center.
Plutko kept his perfect game going through four frames before Khris Davis led off the fifth with a double to center to end the no-hit bid. He would move no further, as the Tribe right-hander got two outs in the air and a strikeout to leave a runner in scoring position.
Jackson bounced back from the pair of long balls by retiring eight straight Indians hitters before the Athletics attacked the scoreboard and chased Plutko from the game in the bottom of the sixth. Franklin Barreto doubled to left to start the inning with the A’s second hit of the day. Josh Phegley popped up behind the plate, but Indians catcher Yan Gomes’ arm bumped into a camera in the camera bay, causing him to come up short of the out. The very next pitch was, of course, crushed to left to tie the game at two. Dustin Fowler singled to right and came all the way around to score from first with the go-ahead run on a double to left by Mark Canha, with the latter caught trying to advance to third for the first out. Jed Lowrie walked before Davis fouled out to Ramirez for the second out, and reliever Oliver Perez took care of Matt Olson with a grounder to first to end the frame with Oakland in front, 3-2.
Dan Otero took over on the mound for the Indians and worked a perfect seventh inning. His teammates, however, were unable to do anything against Emilio Pagan after a one-out walk by Jason Kipnis, as he would be stranded at second after a wild pitch when Gomes popped to short and Tyler Naquin struck out swinging with the tying run in scoring position.
The A’s expanded their lead in the bottom of the eighth. Otero retired the first hitter, striking out his third straight batter, but Fowler crushed a 2-0 fastball deep to right-center to make it a 4-2 game. Josh Tomlin entered for manager Terry Francona, but he did more of what he has all season long. He walked Canha, who moved to second on a walk by Lowie and to third on a throwing error by Gomes. A sacrifice fly by Davis made it a 5-2 game and Olson blasted a two-run shot to right to make it 7-2. Tomlin would get the hook after a single by Stephen Piscotty before George Kontos got the final out.
The Indians threatened in the ninth for the second straight game, but could not deliver the big hits. Santiago Casilla struck out Lindor to start the inning before losing the strike zone and eventually giving up a single to center to Brantley. Ramirez was hit by a pitch to put two on and Edwin Encarnacion drew a walk to load the bases, bringing manager Bob Melvin out of the dugout for his backup closer, Lou Trivino, with birthday boy Blake Treinen unavailable after pitching several days in a row. He would need just three pitches to get the final two outs, getting Alonso to ground into a 3-6-1 double play to end the ball game.
The Indians’ (44-37) problems on the road continued as they dropped their seventh straight game in Oakland. The A’s (46-38) won their sixth straight game, gaining another game on the first place Houston Astros after their second straight loss to Tampa, but treading water with the rest of the division, which was all victorious. They have now won 12 of their last 14.
Plutko’s strong start on Saturday quickly turned sour when things fell apart in the sixth. After allowing just one base runner on a double through his first five innings, he would give up three runs on four hits with a walk in the sixth before exiting. The game was still close, but the offense could not get going against the A’s staff and Indians relievers allowed four more runs to cross the blow the game open. Plutko dropped to 4-2 with the defeat.
Jackson improved to 10-1 in his career against the Indians with his first win of the 2018 season. He worked six and two-thirds innings, allowing just two runs on two hits with no walks and six strikeouts. He kept the Indians off-balanced and furthermore kept them off of the bases, as he pitched out of the windup all game long as both base runners allowed trotted all the way around on home runs.
The Indians lineup mustered just three hits on the day. The top four hitters in the lineup combined to go 3-for-14 with a single, two homers, and a walk. The bottom five guys in the batting order went 0-for-15 with a walk and seven strikeouts.
Cleveland will look to avoid the sweep on Sunday in the series finale from Oakland Coliseum. The Indians will send Mike Clevinger (6-3, 3.03 ERA) to the mound to play the role of stopper, while the A’s will counter with Frankie Montas (4-1, 3.68) in search of the sweep.
First pitch from the Bay is scheduled for 4:05 PM ET.
Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images