A Carlos Santana solo blast down the right field line in the eighth broke a scoreless tie and provided all of the runs that Carlos Carrasco and Andrew Miller would need as the Cleveland Indians shut out the Oakland Athletics, 1-0.
A four-hit masterpiece from the Indians pitching staff stood up as Santana delivered the decisive dagger late. Facing right-handed reliever Ryan Dull (5-4, 2.34 ERA) with an out in the inning, Santana pulled a deep drive that hugged the foul line but landed safely in fair territory deep in the right field lower bowl for the go-ahead solo homer.
Carrasco (9-6, 3.12) returned for the eighth and worked his fifth three-up, three-down inning on the night. Miller took over in the ninth and was just straight filth, striking out the side on 13 pitches, eleven of which crossed for strikes. The first and final strikeouts of his inning made A’s hitters Jake Smolinski and Khris Davis look ridiculous. It was the eleventh save of the season for Miller.
The go-ahead shot in the eighth from the Cleveland leadoff hitter extended the Indians’ (72-51) lead in the American League Central Division to seven and a half games over Detroit and eight and a half over surging Kansas City with both clubs idle on Monday night. Oakland fell to 53-72 on the season and 28-36 at home.
The Indians struggled in the early going to do anything against Oakland starter Andrew Triggs. The rookie, making his first appearance against the Indians and the fourth start of his MLB career, contained Cleveland to just four base runners in his outing. Tyler Naquin singled to lead off the third but was caught stealing. Lonnie Chisenhall singled with two outs in the fifth but was stranded. Santana walked and went to third with two outs in the sixth on a double to left by Jason Kipnis, but Francisco Lindor flied out to end the inning.
Cleveland wasted a similar opportunity in the seventh against reliever Liam Hendriks. Mike Napoli singled to lead off and moved to third on a one-out double by Chisenhall. With the go-ahead runs standing in scoring position, Naquin and Abraham Almonte struck out.
Carrasco, meanwhile, was dealing, once again looking incredibly sharp on the road and, in particular, while pitching in Oakland. He sailed through the first five innings, facing just two batters over the minimum after giving up singles to Ryon Healy in the second and fifth innings.
The A’s threatened briefly in the sixth, as Coco Crisp sent a one-out drive into the right field corner. Chisenhall fired a seed to Kipnis, whose return throw to Jose Ramirez at third was ruled an out on the field, despite Crisp’s hand appearing to beat Ramirez’s tag. The review from New York kept the call and Smolinski immediately singled to center. Stephen Vogt reached on an error at second as Kipnis dropped what should have been the final out of the inning. With two on and two outs, Carrasco took care of matters himself, striking out Davis swinging to end the inning.
CARRASCO LOCKED IT DOWN
Carrasco went eight innings on the night and managed just 99 pitches thrown with several single digit pitch innings to his credit in the game. He allowed just four hits, did not walk a batter, and struck out nine. Twenty-two of 28 batters saw first pitch strikes from Carrasco, who was well in control of all of his pitches throughout the game.
Carrasco is now 6-3 on the road this season with a 1.74 ERA in 67 1/3 innings of work.
TRIGGS TAKES TOUGH NO-DECISION
Triggs did everything expected of a starter on Monday, keeping the Indians off of the bases and not making mistake pitches. He worked six innings and allowed just three hits and a walk while striking out six. The six innings of work were a new career high, while his six strikeouts matched his career-best set on June 3 in a four-inning start against Houston.
Making his 22nd appearance and fourth start of the season, Triggs is just 0-1 on the season. The A’s, however, are just 1-21 in games in which Triggs appears on the mound.
ON BASE STREAK ENDS FOR RAMIREZ
Ramirez’s on-base streak came to an end at 27 games with an 0-for-4 in the series opener with Oakland. He grounded to second in the second, flied to left in the fifth, fouled out to the catcher in the seventh, and grounded to third to lead off the ninth.
GOLDEN SOMBRERO TIME
With his flailing and falling whiff in the bottom of the ninth, Davis struck out for the fourth time in four plate appearances against Cleveland pitching on Monday. He is now 1-for-15 (.067) on the season against Indians pitching with eight strikeouts, a walk, and a solo home run.
Smolinski added three K’s to go with his single.
A’s shortstop Marcus Semien missed his first game of the season on Monday as he left the club to be with his wife for the birth of their child.
The A’s announced prior to the game that Billy Butler had been placed on the seven-day concussion DL as a result of his clubhouse confrontation with Danny Valencia over the weekend while in Chicago.
Arismendy Alcantara was recalled from Triple-A Nashville.
Game two of the three-game series from Oakland Coliseum will start at 10:05 PM ET on Tuesday night.
Right-hander Danny Salazar (11-4, 3.57) looks to get back on track in his second start since returning from the disabled list. He is 2-0 in his career against Oakland with a spotless ERA and 12 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings of work. Rookie left-hander Sean Manaea (4-8, 4.73) will oppose, making his first professional appearance against Cleveland in the start. He is the rookie leader among AL pitchers in strikeouts with 92 on the season.
Photo: AP Photo/Ben Margot