CLEVELAND -- The Indians' clubhouse buzzed with excitement Sunday morning after the news they had acquired reliever Andrew Miller via trade. That enthusiasm reflected on the field with an all-around strong showing in the Tribe's 8-0 series-sweeping win over the Athletics at Progressive Field.
"I think there was definitely a good vibe in the locker room," Cleveland starter Corey Kluber said. "You could tell that there was a little more excitement than normal at nine o'clock in the morning. I think he definitely helps make us a better team."
An early offensive outburst chased Oakland starter Sonny Gray after just 3 1/3 innings. It was his shortest outing since he went the same length against the Yankees on May 20. Gray allowed seven runs on eight hits in the rough start.
Meanwhile, Kluber did his part to seal the sweep. The ace stymied the Athletics' offense, tossing seven innings. Kluber allowed just five hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. Over the last four games, Kluber has allowed four runs in 29 innings.
The offense gave Kluber plenty of cushion to work with all afternoon. Cleveland scored all eight runs from the third inning through the fifth, which was highlighted by Mike Napoli's team-best 24th home run in the third. Over those three frames, seven of the nine batters in the order recorded a hit.
"They played better than we did," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They're a good team. They flat out beat us."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Bottom of the order: Cleveland's eight runs between the third and fifth frames were largely due to the success at the end of the lineup. During that span, the Nos. 7-9 hitters -- Tyler Naquin, Abraham Almonte, Roberto Perez -- had five hits and scored five times. During the eruption, Naquin was 2-for-2 with a walk, Almonte went 2-for-2 with an RBI sacrifice fly, and Perez was 1-for-2 with an RBI and a walk.
Abe's given us a big lift the last couple days," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "And again, I know it's kind of common sense, we need to be that kind of team where we're getting contributions and not giving a pitcher an inning off and things like that.
A's bats silenced: Oakland's offense, meanwhile, couldn't get anything going, mustering just six hits to walk away with only six runs in this three-game series. The A's had plated six runs apiece in their previous three contests before arriving in Cleveland. Just once Sunday did they advance a runner past second base.
"It's frustrating," outfielder Josh Reddick said. "We came in here with all the confidence and playing really good baseball. To get swept is never fun at all."
Party at Napoli's: In the third, Napoli belted the first pitch he saw over the wall in left for a two-run shot. Per Statcast™, the ball traveled an estimated 393 feet with an exit velocity of 106 mph. Napoli's team-high 24th homer capped the five-run outburst after a quiet first two frames. Of his 24 home runs, 15 have come at Progressive Field. It also marked his 1,000th career hit.
"I thought out of the chute he looked [like] the same old Sonny Gray -- breaking ball, fastball, cutting it -- and kind of slicing through us," Francona said. "And then we didn't just score, we broke through. And then Nap hits the next one, so obviously it helps us."
Gray's woes continue: Gray's ongoing -- and, frankly, perplexing -- struggles have been well-documented, particularly the big innings like Sunday's five-run third that have cost him dearly. After finishing third in American League Cy Young voting last year, Gray has pitched to a 5.84 ERA in 20 starts this season, yielding 72 earned runs across 111 innings. He surrendered 63 last year in 208 innings.
"It's unbelievably frustrating for him when you go out with that kind of stuff and get off to the start that he did, and the next thing you know there's a five-spot up and you're having to battle to stay out there," Melvin said. More >
"His right hamstring started cramping on him. We've all had that, it's not fun. He's not hurt, it just hurt. And then it kind of came back again. Just for the time being, it kind of hurts, it kind of locks you up. He'll be OK." -- Francona, on Carlos Santana getting shaken up in his last at-bat in the eighth
WHAT'S NEXT A's: The A's will enjoy an off-day in Anaheim on Monday before beginning a three-game series with the Angels at Angel Stadium. Left-hander Sean Manaea, who has a 2.65 ERA in his last six outings, gets the nod in Tuesday's 7:05 p.m. PT opener. It will be Manaea's first career start against the Angels.
Indians:Danny Salazar (11-3, 2.97 ERA) will take the mound at 7:10 p.m. ET for the Tribe on Monday in the opener of a four-game series with the Twins. The right-hander sports the fourth-best ERA in the AL through his first 19 starts. This year, Salazar is 6-0 with a 2.68 ERA in eight starts against divisional opponents.