Athletics Make it Five Straight with Win over Bauer and Tribe; A’s 3, Indians 1
Bob Toth | On 30, Jun 2018
The Oakland Athletics remained hot, winning their eleventh game in their last 13 contests with a 3-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
In a pitching matchup that favored the Indians, the Tribe offense was stymied by Oakland starter Paul Blackburn and the A’s bullpen. Trevor Bauer limited the A’s to just two runs over six and two-thirds innings, but the bats struggled to get going as the Tribe dropped their third game in the last four.
The Indians had a chance to do some damage against Blackburn in the first, but missed out on the opportunity. Francisco Lindor singled to right, but was caught stealing. One out later, Jose Ramirez was hit by a pitch, but Edwin Encarnacion fouled out to third.
Bauer was on the mound for the Tribe while looking to wrap up an impressive month of June. He worked an easy first inning, but ran into trouble in the second when Matt Olson doubled the opposite way down the left field line with one out. He moved to third on a groundout to second by Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien gave the A’s the lead with an RBI-single to left before a line out to center by Jonathan Lucroy.
The two opposing starters had similar quiet third innings and both arms walked a batter in the fourth with no further damage. Blackburn struck out a pair in the fifth, while Bauer added one to his tally in the frame.
Blackburn retired the side in order in the top of the sixth before his offense got him another run, this one in gift fashion. With one out in the inning, Matt Joyce singled to right. On a strikeout swinging by Jed Lowrie, Joyce advanced to second on the wild pitch in the dirt from Bauer. Khris Davis jumped on the next pitch, a curveball high in the zone, and bashed it to the wall in left for an RBI-double, giving Oakland a 2-0 lead.
Blackburn left after six and one-third, retiring 14 of the last 15 batters that he faced, and reliever Ryan Buchter handled the Tribe with ease in the top half of the seventh.
Bauer would log one more out than his counterpart, but left in some trouble after Piscotty doubled and Semien singled to put runners on corners with nobody out after the stretch. Semien stole second, but with two in scoring position, Bauer buckled down to strike out Lucroy and Franklin Barreto swinging. Manager Terry Francona came to the mound for reliever Oliver Perez, who intentionally walked Mark Canha to load the bases before exiting without throwing an actual pitch. Zach McAllister struck out pinch-hitter Chad Pinder swinging to leave the bags full.
The Indians finally got on the scoreboard in the top of the eighth, using a pair of two-base hits to create a run. Yan Gomes, pinch-hitting for Roberto Perez, doubled with one out off of Buchter. Yusmeiro Petit took over on the mound and erased pinch-hitter Brandon Guyer on a liner to third, but Lindor came through with a clutch two-out double to center to drive in Gomes with the first Cleveland run of the game, making it 2-1. With the tying run in scoring position in Lindor, Brantley struck out swinging.
The A’s got the run back three pitches into the home half of the eighth. Lowrie fell behind in the count 0-2 to McAllister before belting a drive over the auxiliary scoreboard in right to give Oakland a 3-1 lead. After a single by Davis, Dan Otero entered and got a double play grounder and a grounder to short to end the frame.
The Indians would threaten in the ninth, but could not come through against A’s closer Blake Treinen. Ramirez singled to right on a third straight sinker before Encarnacion lined out to deep center. Yonder Alonso struck out swinging after arguing the strike two call. Rajai Davis drew a four-pitch walk to bring the go-ahead run to the plate in Jason Kipnis, but he flied out to the track in right to end it.
Blackburn notched his second win of the year in his fifth start of the campaign. He worked six and one-third scoreless innings, giving up just three hits, one walk, and one hit batter while striking out five. Buchter and Petit each earned holds, while Treinen saved his 21st game of the year.
Bauer wrapped up June with another quality start on the mound. He lasted six and two-thirds innings, giving up two runs on six hits with a walk and eight strikeouts. He got no run support, however, and was dealt his sixth loss of the season. In six June starts, Bauer went 3-3 with a 2.18 ERA and a .203 opponent batting average with 62 strikeouts and eleven walks in 41 1/3 innings. His ERA climbed just one hundredth of a point from 2.44 to 2.45 with his effort on Friday.
“I thought he was Trevor. He was good,” said Francona. “Kinda had an excuse-me-double that led to the first run. I’m sure he’d like to get that breaking ball back from Davis.”
With their fifth straight win, the A’s (45-38) kept pace with the second place Seattle Mariners and picked up a full game on the Houston Astros, who fell to the Tampa Bay Rays earlier in the day. The Indians (44-36) remain eight games up in the division as the second place Minnesota Twins dropped a 10-6 final to the Chicago Cubs in interleague action from the Windy City.
The Indians will look to get back into the win column on Saturday afternoon in a 4:05 PM ET start from Oakland Coliseum. The A’s will send out 34-year-old veteran right-hander Edwin Jackson (0-0, 1.50 ERA), who has dominated the Indians throughout his career with nine straight winning decisions, but he has only faced them one time since 2011. The Cleveland will counter with rookie righty Adam Plutko (4-1, 4.65), who will look to pick up where he left off in his last outing, a quality win over the Detroit Tigers.
Photo: Jason O. Watson/Getty Images