OAKLAND -- Sometimes in baseball, a team can't hit what it has never seen. The Indians got their first look at A's rookie left-hander Sean Manaea on Tuesday night, and went down quietly in a 9-1 loss at the Coliseum.
The larger issue for the American League Central-leading Indians, however, was another abbreviated effort from righty Danny Salazar. The starter lasted only four innings, in which he allowed six runs on eight hits, including a three-run homer from slugger Khris Davis in the opening frame. The blast was Davis' 33rd of the season.
"I'm not sure during the game you want to give credit," said Indians manager Terry Francona, when asked about Manaea. "But, when it's over, the kid did a good job."
With the loss, the Tribe's lead over Detroit was trimmed to 6 1/2 games in the division.
Manaea earned the win after one of the best performances of his first Major League season. The lefty did not allow a hit until the fourth inning, scattered three on the evening overall, and ended with eight strikeouts in his seven innings. The Tribe's only breakthrough against Manaea came in the sixth, when catcher Chris Gimenez belted a leadoff homer.
"Everything about today was free and easy," Manaea said. "Having that confidence and having that free and easy motion, it all came together today. It was kind of like last year. I felt like last year I was pretty good with my fastball command and it just all came together today. I was happy with how everything turned out."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rookies leave their mark: The A's youth movement was on full display Tuesday. Behind rookie Manaea, fellow rookies Ryon Healy, Chad Pinder and Bruce Maxwell accounted for four RBIs. For Pinder, who collected an RBI single in the third, and Maxwell, who padded the A's lead with a two-run double in the eighth, it marked the first career RBI for both. Healy, meanwhile, has been one of the club's hottest hitters, his most recent performance bringing about three hits, two of them doubles, to extend his hitting streak to 10 games.
"I played with a lot of these guys last year in [Double-A] Midland," Manaea said. "Ever since then I knew this group that was coming up was gonna be special. I really believe that. We're all going to contribute. Today is just a little taste of what could happen in the future." More >>
Salazar's early exit: The Indians insist Salazar is healthy, but the hard-throwing righty has certainly looked rusty two starts into his return from the disabled list. Following his bout with right elbow inflammation, Salazar has allowed nine runs on nine hits with more walks (six) than strikeouts (three) in five innings combined since being activated by Cleveland. Salazar stayed around 94-96 mph with his fastball in his 80-pitch outing against the A's.
"I thought he was up with too many fastballs," Francona said. "Because of that, it didn't seem like they really had to respect his offspeed pitches. So, they got pretty good swings at his fastball. The hope is he gets some repetition, including side days and stuff, and gets back to the Danny that we saw in the first half. It'd certainly be helpful." More >>
Khrushed: Davis' first-inning blast -- launched an estimated 416 feet, per Statcast™ -- not only provided the A's with a hurried three-run lead, but set the mark for most home runs by an Athletic over the last eight years, surpassing Josh Reddick's total of 32 in 2012. Davis, whose RBI count is up to 82 in his first season in green and gold, is just the second A's right-handed hitter to compile 30 home runs over the last 14 years, joining Frank Thomas (39 in 2006).
Smolinski's web gem: The A's Jake Smolinski wowed with an absolutely extraordinary leaping catch in the eighth inning, robbing Lonnie Chisenhall of extra bases with a diving snare in right-center field. Oakland's center fielder covered approximately 63 feet on the highlight-reel play, according to Statcast™, tracking down a screaming line drive that left Chisenhall's bat at 106 mph, and doing so fully outstretched.
"I just felt like I got a good jump, and I felt like I had it the whole way," Smolinski said. "It was fun."
"I didn't think he had a chance at it," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He got such a great jump on it and made a complete head-long dive to get it. That's a big play."
"I think I'm still leaving the ball up. That's what happened tonight. That's not going to stop me. I've just got to keep working to get it down. I don't want to make any excuses. I'm watching the videos. I'm doing things the way I always do it. It might be my arm is a little bit too lazy. What I need to do is be aggressive. I know I'll get it." -- Salazar
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Right-hander Trevor Bauer (9-5, 3.88 ERA) is scheduled to take the ball for the Tribe at 3:35 p.m. ET on Wednesday in the finale of this three-game set at the Coliseum. In his last outing, Bauer set a career high with 13 strikeouts, while limiting Toronto to two runs over eight innings on Friday. He is 2-0 with a 2.66 ERA in his past three starts for Cleveland.
A's: The A's will close out this three-game series against the Indians with right-hander Kendall Graveman on the mound in Wednesday's 12:35 p.m. PT finale at the Coliseum. Graveman twirled his first career shutout in his last start, a two-hitter in the A's 9-0 win at Chicago on Saturday. He's 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA in three career starts against Cleveland.