By Jane Lee and August Fagerstrom
MLB.com |@JaneMLB |
CLEVELAND -- A bases-loaded double by Billy Butler broke open a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning and the A's were able to hold off the Indians' comeback attempt, picking up a 5-4 victory at Progressive Field on Saturday night.
The game's starters had participated in a pitcher's duel through seven innings, allowing two runs each. Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (10-7, 4.07 ERA) allowed six hits in seven innings for the Indians, striking out seven and walking one. He allowed a first-inning run on a sacrifice fly, but went on to retire nine in a row and 16 of his next 18.
"I think he was dropping his elbow a little bit," catcher Roberto Perez said. "That's why his fastball was tailing a little bit. But then, after we came in in the second inning, he got better through the game."
Oakland righty Chris Bassitt (0-2, 2.93 ERA) held the Indians in check through 6 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and one walk while striking out three. He was effectively wild early, hitting a batter, throwing a wild pitch and falling behind 10 of the first 13 batters he faced, but he settled down and didn't allow a run until the sixth.
The Indians tied the game with response runs the first and second time the A's scored, but were only able to follow a three-run eighth with a two-run eighth of their own. Tyler Clippard earned his 17th save of the season, and his fifth save of more than three outs. The Indians' four-game winning streak came to an end and the A's snapped a three-game losing streak.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Adding on: In their previous two games, the A's scored a run in either the first or second inning, but were unable to push across another thereafter. On Saturday, it appeared the trend would continue, as they jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first, but didn't score in their next five frames. Then came the seventh, when Ike Davis hit a game-tying RBI double, and a three-run eighth, highlighted by Butler's two-out, two-run double.
"I was trying to score from the get-go," Josh Reddick said, who scored on an error when the throw from the outfield hit Butler. "I got held up, so I just turned to see what was happening behind me, and as soon as I saw it hit Billy, I just took off. I'm just happy I looked back. Thank God it happened, because we needed that run." More >
Musical chairs: Indians manager Terry Francona made a series of bullpen switches in the eighth inning, but didn't get the results for which he intended. Zach McAllister started off the inning by retiring the first two batters he faced before allowing a single to Stephen Vogt. Francona decided to turn around switch-hitter Ben Zobrist by bringing in lefty Marc Rzepczynski, but he promptly allowed a single and walked the next batter, lefty Josh Reddick, on four pitches. Righty Bryan Shaw entered to face the same-handed Butler, who grounded a double down the right-field line, clearing the bases.
"With Zobrist, all his homers are left-handed," Francona said. "With Reddick sitting behind him, they'd been pinch-hitting for him. We tried to set it up for Rzep, and it didn't work out very well." More >
Clippard cruises: A's manager Bob Melvin used four pitchers to navigate the eighth inning, the last being his closer. Clippard came on with two outs in the inning, retiring all four batters faced for the four-out save, his 17th save of the season. The right-hander, who helped the A's improve to 8-22 in one-run games, has not allowed a run in 10 of his past 11 games.
Slamtana:Carlos Santana's recent hot streak continued with a full-count, two-run homer off Edward Mujica in the eighth, bringing the deficit to one run. After a double earlier in the game, Santana has nine hits in last 22 at-bats, including three extra base hits. Giovanny Urshela nearly tied the game two batters later with a fly ball to the warning track in center field, but it fell just short.
"You see where he lined that ball to left-center, and then they threw a fastball and you saw what he did with it," Francona said. "He has that balance going, and again, if he starts to swing like that our whole lineup will be different."
Athletics: Oakland will have its ace on the mound for Sunday's series finale in Cleveland, with Sonny Gray (9-3, 2.20 ERA) going in the 10:10 a.m. PT/1:10 p.m. ET matchup against the Indians ahead of a bus ride to Cincinnati for his first career All-Star appearance. Gray is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA in two career starts against the Indians, both coming last year.
Indians: Right-hander Corey Kluber (4-9, 3.45 ERA) will start the first-half finale for Cleveland, looking to win consecutive starts for just the second time this season. His last outing against Oakland was his first of the 2014 season, when he allowed five earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB and listen to her podcast. August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.