Colon Buries Tribe Early, Late-Inning Rally Not Enough; Athletics 8, Indians 5
By Mike Brandyberry
A decade ago Bartolo Colon used an overpowering fastball as a Cleveland Indian to dominate the American League. Saturday evening, the now cagey veteran pounded the strike zone all night to dominate the Indians, defeating his former team 8-5.
Corey Kluber pitched better than his previous outings against Kansas City and Boston where he was bombed early, however, poor defense and his lack of ability to get out of the inning with minimal damage would be the young right hander’s downfall. Despite a late offensive push in the ninth inning, the Indians were lifeless and out of the game most of the evening.
Oakland scored in the third inning when Cliff Pennington led the inning off by reaching on an Asdrubal Cabrera error. Jemile Weeks sacrificed Pennington to second base and Coco Crisp walked to put runners on first and second with only one out. Pennington and Crisp pulled the double steal, while Carlos Santana let the pitch go to the backstop, putting runners on second and third before Josh Donaldson grounded out to Cabrera to push Pennington in to give Oakland the early lead.
Like previous starts, however, Kluber could not minimize the damage Josh Reddick would follow in the next at bat and double off the wall to plate Crisp and extend the lead to 2-0. Yoenis Cespedes made buried the Indians in an early hole when he homered to left field to make it 4-0 at the end of the third inning.
The Tribe finally cracked the hit column off Colon in the fourth inning when Cabrera hit a one-out double off the left centerfield wall. Choo followed with a single to right field, but a strong throw by Reddick kept Cabrera from scoring and runners on the corners for Santana to hit into a double play to end the inning and keep the Indians scoreless.
Kluber survived five innings, allowing all four runs in the third inning—all unearned—while surrendering four hits and walking three, while striking out two. He suffered from the Cabrera error, and while all the runs may be unearned, he made matters worse by struggling to get the third out of the inning.
Frank Herrmann relieved Kluber in the top of the sixth and promptly allowed another run when Chris Carter doubled down the left field line with one out and George Kottaras singled with two outs to score him and extend the Athletics lead to 5-0.
The Indians would finally tally a run in the top of the seventh when Santana hit a solo home run to deep centerfield, over the outstretched glove of Coco Crisp to cut the Tribe deficit to 5-1. Michael Brantley followed with a base hit, but they could not muster any more offense. It was only the second inning the Wahoos did not go three-up, three-down against Colon.
However, the Athletics answered right back when they would tally a run in the bottom half of the inning. Jemile Weeks walked and after Herrmann recorded an out, he was relieved by Cody Allen. He would allow a base hit to Donaldson before getting Reddick to pop out on the infield for the second out of the inning. Cespedes made the Indians pay again when he lined a base hit to score Weeks and make the game 6-1. The run was charged to Herrmann and Allen retired Carter to end the inning.
Colon’s night was cruised through eight innings, allowing only five hits and the one run on the Santana home run. He made quick work of the Indians, throwing 103 pitches—74 for strikes. His quick work was a product of pounding the strike zone and the Tribe offense seeming to have no approach or life at the plate. All evening it appeared hitters were overaggressive, swinging at the first pitch they saw.
Chris Seddon worked the bottom of the eighth allowing two runs on a Crisp triple. Both runners reached on walks as he struggled to find the strike zone all inning. Cleveland tallied four runs in the ninth, on a Shin-Soo Choo two-run homer and Brent Lillibridge two-run jack but the late life was too little, too late and the Indians would suffer the defeat, 8-5. Cleveland managed five hits in the ninth inning, as many as they had in the previous eight against Colon. The Tribe’s loss is their 17th defeat in their last 21 games, including going 1-13 combined on the last two road trips.
Sunday the Indians will try to avoid being swept out of Oakland when Justin Masterson (9-10, 4.50 ERA) takes on the Athletics Jarrod Parker (7-7, 3.71 ERA) at 4:05 pm ET. The game can be seen on SportsTime Ohio and heard on WTAM-1100 AM.
Photo: AP Photo/Ben Margot