A's starter snaps rough stretch but gets no-decision
By Trevor Hass
OAKLAND -- Coming in 0-3 with a 10.22 ERA in his last three starts, Kendall Graveman was due for a bounceback performance.
He responded by tossing 6 2/3 innings in the A's 2-1 loss to the Indians on Friday night, allowing one unearned run on five hits and returning to the form A's fans grew accustomed to from late May until July 4.
"He went right after hitters tonight and got some early outs, which is a good sign," Stephen Vogt said. "He pitched his tail off tonight and should have gotten the win."
With two outs in the seventh and runners at second and third, Giovanny Urshela hit a soft grounder toward Marcus Semien. Semien charged the ball and scooped it up cleanly, but his throw brought Ike Davis off the bag.
The run scored, Semien committed his Major League-leading 29th error and the A's went on to lose as Edward Mujica surrendered a run in the ninth.
"It's frustrating," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You go through periods of the season where you're up and down, but you like to time it right to where when you get a well-pitched game you get just enough to give him a decision, and we weren't able to do that."
Graveman's shown flashes of brilliance throughout the season, including a six-game streak when he tossed seven or more innings and allowed two runs or fewer each start.
In his previous three starts in which he yielded a combined 14 earned runs, Graveman said he tried to be "too fine" early in counts and fell behind hitters that could do some damage.
"That was really affecting my performance, and that was one of the things, mentally and physically, we were working on this week," he said.
Against the Indians, he threw 67 of his 97 pitches for strikes and did a better job getting ahead of hitters.
He had command on his pitches, including his changeup, and even made a highlight-reel diving play in the first inning.
While Graveman flourished, the A's bats did not. They only mustered one hit and have three total for the series. Three hits was the lowest over a two-game stretch by an A's team since the Philadelphia A's had three in 1953.
"Anytime you waste a good start as a hitter you get frustrated about that," Vogt said. "When you can't give your boy two runs and he goes up there and gives up one unearned he should get the win for that, and we weren't able to do that for him."
Trevor Hass is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.