OAKLAND -- It was one of those cool nights at the Coliseum on Monday, when one run might just be enough to win. The Indians put that to the test, using a home run by Carlos Santana and a strong outing by Carlos Carrasco to pull off a 1-0 victory to overcome a solid start by A's rookie Andrew Triggs.
"Both teams really pitched well," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We hit a few balls hard, but not a lot. Fortunately, [Santana] ran one out of there, because it looked like that was probably the way someone was going to have to score."
Powered by eight dominant innings from Carrasco, the American League Central-leading Indians pushed their lead over Detroit to 7 1/2 games in the division, matching a season-best margin. The big right-hander struck out nine, scattered four hits and issued no walks en route to his ninth win of the year.
Lefty Andrew Miller shut the door in the ninth, striking out the side on 13 pitches to collect his second save since joining Cleveland.
"He was awesome," Miller said of Carrasco. "That's as good as you can throw the ball. I know you need a couple things to go your way, but that was no-hit stuff. That was a lot of fun to watch."
Oakland's silver lining came courtesy of Triggs, who notched career highs in innings (six) and pitches (89), while quieting a stout Cleveland lineup. The Indians' lone breakthrough did not arrive until the eighth inning, when Santana launched his shot to the right-field stands against reliever Ryan Dull.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Santana ends the deadlock: With one out in the eighth inning, Santana pulled a 1-1 fastball from reliever Ryan Dull down the right-field line. Cleveland's first baseman stayed put, leaning over the plate as he watched the ball, waiting to see if it stayed fair. It did, giving him 27 home runs to equal a single-season career best (done three times). The solo blast came with an exit velocity of 108 mph, per Statcast™.
"It was in-between. Is it foul? Will it stay fair?" Santana said. "It was fair. That happened, I got a home run and we won the game. It felt great, especially because [Carrasco] threw eight innings. He had a good slider tonight and the fastball inside. He threw well. It was a good job."
Crisp called out:Coco Crisp was thrown out at third base attempting to stretch a double into a triple in the sixth inning on a strong relay by right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall and second baseman Jason Kipnis. The A's challenged, arguing Crisp's head-first slide snuck under third baseman Jose Ramirez's tag, but the original call stood after a replay review. It ended up proving costly, as Oakland quickly mounted an ensuing threat.
"I thought he was safe," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I went in there and it still looked to be like he was safe. Now the rule, you have to have evidence that shows you conclusively, and that probably fell under the one where they couldn't say for sure whether he was out or safe, but I might be a little biased and I thought he was safe."
Carrasco's sixth-inning escape: The A's had the makings of a rally in the sixth, when Jake Smolinski delivered a two-out single and Stephen Vogt then reached via a fielding error by Kipnis. That set things up for slugger Khris Davis, who swung through a 1-2 slider for his third strikeout of the night. After receiving Carrasco's pitch, catcher Roberto Perez pumped his fist in celebration.
"[Carrasco] was terrific," Francona said. "Command of his fastball and then off of that, the breaking ball. And he had to be good, because their guy was every bit as good." More >>
Tribe can't solve Triggs-onometry:Triggs ran into trouble only once, facing Francisco Lindor with two outs in the sixth inning and runners standing on second and third. Triggs wiggled his way out, getting Lindor out in front of a curveball to fly out to right field. He was otherwise spotless, facing just one batter more than the minimum through the first five innings. Triggs scattered three hits and struck out a season-high six batters
"Very impressed," Vogt said of Triggs. "From a guy who doesn't have a whole lot of experience starting, especially at the big league level. He's done such a great job for us. His changeup has come a long way." More >>
"You're just coming up and getting the ball in quickly. I think the play stood, so there might not have been enough evidence either way to call it. It was a good play. [Crisp] made the right play, trying to get to three with one out. It was a good baseball play all around." --Chisenhall, on the relay play in the sixth inning
"Everything you do good in your last start you're trying to carry over into your next start. Sometimes I try to think too much about getting a lot of strikeouts. What's more important now is put a zero on the board." --Carrasco
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Miller notched his 11th outing of the year consisting of exactly one inning and three strikeouts. That is the most such appearances in the AL and second in the Majors behind Miami's Kyle Barraclough (12). Miller leads the Majors with 17 such games over the 2015-16 seasons.
Carrasco has looked more like himself since allowing eight runs in 3 2/3 innings during an Aug. 2 loss to the Twins. In his four starts since that uncharacteristic outing, Carrasco has piled up 37 strikeouts against two walks in 28 2/3 innings.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Right-hander Danny Salazar (11-4, 3.57 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Tribe in a 10:05 p.m. ET clash with the A's on Tuesday. In his first outing off the disabled list, Salazar struggled with his command and lasted only one inning on Thursday. The righty continued throwing in the bullpen and built up to around 70 pitches, though. That should put Salazar on target for a more typical workload in Oakland.
Athletics:Sean Manaea (4-8, 4.73) takes the mound at 7:05 pm. PT Tuesday for the A's at the Coliseum. Manaea struggled in his last start, giving up five runs on nine hits over six innings in a loss to the Rangers. Manaea's biggest issue has been keeping the ball in the park, as opponents have 18 homers against him in 110 ⅓ innings. Still, Manaea owns a 3.69 ERA over his last 10 games.