Indians' late rally fuels wild victory over A's

Indians' late rally fuels wild victory over A's

CLEVELAND -- The Indians' offense looked lost for most of Friday night against A's right-hander Kendall Graveman. A defensive miscue by Oakland, followed by a handful of key hits, helped Cleveland turn things around in a hurry in a 5-3 comeback win at Progressive Field.

Carlos Santana's home run in the sixth inning and Abraham Almonte's run-scoring pinch-hit single in the seventh ignited a five-run push that put the Tribe in the win column. The late comeback overcame a rocky outing by starter Trevor Bauer and helped the American League Central-leading Indians improve to 28-17 at home this season.

"With the team we have right now, I think we can come back from anything," Almonte said. "You can see the worst situation and ... I think we can come back and do it. We have been doing it for a long time."

Comeback shows Indians' improved tenacity

Santana is now tied with first baseman Mike Napoli for the team lead with 22 home runs.

Santana's solo home run

Graveman, who limited Cleveland to no runs and three singles through his first five innings, was charged with four runs (three earned) on six hits in 6 1/3 innings for the A's. Lefty Marc Rzepczynski could not retire the only two batters he faced in the seventh, giving the Indians a chance to pull ahead for the win.

Bauer walked away with a no-decision after allowing three runs (two earned) in 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander surrendered consecutive home runs to Josh Reddick (eighth on the season) and Khris Davis (26) in the sixth inning. A throwing error by Napoli in the fourth, followed later by an RBI single by Billy Butler, added an unearned run on Bauer's line.

Butler's RBI single

After Bauer's exit, Cody Anderson, Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen closed the door on the A's.

Bullpen shakes off trade rumors, shuts down A's

"Guys did an unbelievable job," Allen said. "That's how you win ballgames. We scored late, which was good to see life like that. Good teams, championship teams, you see a lot they score late and their bullpen holds down leads. It was definitely good to do that."

Almonte in a pinch: With one out and runners on first and second in the seventh, the Indians called Almonte off the bench to face Graveman. Almonte answered the call with an RBI single to center that sparked a four-run rally for the Tribe. Jason Kipnis later dumped a broken-bat RBI single into left field off Rzepczynski and Francisco Lindor added a sacrifice fly, helping the Indians grab a 5-3 lead.

Almonte's pinch-hit RBI single

"I know he's swinging first-pitch if it's a strike, and I need to do a better job of locating that one," Graveman said. "I just gotta continue to fight and get my team in with the lead or a tied ballgame right there."

Undone: Cleveland's seventh-inning rally began when shortstop Marcus Semien bobbled a ground ball off the bat of Rajai Davis for a fielding error that should have been the second out of the inning. Graveman would never record that out, proceeding to allow back-to-back singles that prompted his departure. More mishaps ensued: Rzepczynski issued a walk to load the bases ahead of Kipnis' single, and a wild pitch from right-hander Ryan Dull handed the Indians yet another run. The A's had gone seven straight games without an error before Friday.

Kipnis' game-tying bloop single

"I think I should have one-handed it, try to catch it and give yourself a chance," Semien said. "I didn't give myself a chance there, so it's frustrating that it led to a big inning. Rajai's a fast runner. Maybe I thought about that and didn't focus on the catch."

"It's a team thing, and it's our job to pick him up," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Semien. "He's done a nice job for us this year. Granted, it's two out and nobody on if he makes the play, but the guy's running down the line pretty hard, and he has to field it cleanly and get it off quick. You know you have to be perfect with it."

Powered up: The A's smacked two home runs in a single inning for a third consecutive game, getting back-to-back shots from Reddick and Davis in the sixth. For Davis, it was his second home run in as many games and 26th of the season, one shy of his career high set with the Brewers last season. It's also the fourth highest among AL batters.

"I threw a 3-1 pitch and made sure I caught the plate," Bauer said, "because I didn't want to walk [Reddick], and he hit it out. I threw a really good changeup first pitch to the next guy. I feel like I pitched really well today, actually. I know it doesn't look like I did."

Homer prone: The back-to-back home runs by Oakland -- on back-to-back pitches -- highlighted a troubling recent trend for Bauer. The righty allowed only eight homers in his first 21 games (107 innings) this season for an impressive rate of 0.7 per nine innings. Over his past two starts, though, Bauer has yielded four blasts in 9 1/3 innings.

"This group, you don't get the feeling like you got punched in the stomach and it takes you two innings to get it back. I think they do a good job of continuing to play and play and play." -- Indians manager Terry Francona, on the Indians' ability to come back

Terry Francona on win over A's

Athletics: Left-hander Dillon Overton will be recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Saturday for a 4:30 p.m. PT start against the Indians in the middle matchup of this three-game series at Progressive Field. Overton will be embarking on his third stint with the A's this year, having gone 1-1 with an 8.40 ERA in his first three big league outings.

Indians: Right-hander Josh Tomlin (10-3, 3.48 ERA) will take the mound for the Tribe. Tomlin has alternated good and poor starts this month. He has two one-run outings in four July starts, but he has also given up 12 combined runs in his other two nods. Tomlin gave up four runs on seven hits in the loss to the Orioles his last time out.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.