A’s crash and burn in the road opener in Cleveland Friday night, losing 10-4

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Matt Olson hit his 19th home run of 2018 in the second inning Photo: @Athletics

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics have feasted on the American League Central Division. One of the reasons the A’s record improved so dramatically in late June and early July was their performance versus the AL Central teams.

On Friday night, it looked like that feast would continue as the A’s jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead on home runs by Dustin Fowler in the first inning and Matt Olson in the second inning. Oakland (48-40) appeared ready to make it a short game for Indians starter Carlos Carrasco.

Cleveland (49-37) had a completely different idea about the game. They put a run up on the board in the bottom of the second which started them on a march to victory. The Indians added three more runs to their total in the home half of the third inning to take a 4-2 lead, and they would never relinquish that lead.

The Indians would score six additional runs while the A’s would add two runs to their total. Cleveland won game one 10-4.

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It was a sellout crowd at Progressive Field in Cleveland Photo: @Indians

This game was about hitting

Cleveland

  • The Indians scored their 10 runs on just 10 hits — that’s efficiency.
  • Cleveland recorded 10 hits and struck out just four times. That is not the norm in the days of teams recording more strikeouts than hits.
  • They scored those 10 runs and had only three batters walk.
  • Cleveland went 4-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left just two runners on base.
  • The Indians scored their 10 runs without hitting a home run. Their key weapon was the two-base hit. They hit three doubles in the game
  • Lindor, Brantley, Ramirez, and Encarnacion all had two-hit games. Ramirez and Encarnacion recorded three RBI each.

Oakland

  • The A’s scored their four runs off 11 hits. Only one Oakland batter walked.
  • The A’s hitters also struck out 11 times for a one hit to one strikeout ratio — not unusual this season but not what any manager wants to see from his team.
  • Mark Canha led the Oakland hitting attack going 3-for-4 with an RBI (33). One of his hits was his 14th double of the season.
  • Fowler, Olson, and Semien all had two-hit nights. Fowler also picked up two RBIs.
  • Oakland went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base.

It was a night of many pitchers

Indians

  • Carlos Carrasco (9-5) made the start for Cleveland and picked up the win. He worked 5.1-innings giving up three runs (all earned) on seven hits. Carrasco struck out seven A’s and walked none. He did allow two home runs.
  • Cleveland used five relief pitchers. Four of them pitched less than an inning.
  • Dan Otero — who pitched for the A’s for three seasons — pitched the final two innings of the game for the Indians.
  • No save was awarded.

Athletics

  • Paul Blackburn started the game for the A’s and worked 4.0 innings. He gave up six runs (five earned) on seven hits. Blackburn struck three and walked one. He was charged with the loss and his record falls to 2-3.
  • Yusmeiro Petit worked 2.0 innings of no-hit baseball. He walked one and struck out one.
  • Emilio Pagan really struggled as he pitched 0.2 innings allowing four runs (all earned) on just three hits.
  • Santiago Casilla came in to close out the seventh inning for Pagan.
  • Chris Hatcher worked a perfect eighth inning for Oakland against the Indians.

Up next

The A’s and Indians will play game two of the three-game series on Saturday at 1:10 pm PDT. The “ageless one” Edwin Jackson (1-0, 2.13) will start for Oakland and the very tough Corey Kluber (12-4, 2.64) will take the hill for the Indians.

The winning streak continues as the A’s crush the Indians 7-2 on Saturday

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Canha bangs an RBI-double off the left field wall Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

By Charlie O. Mallonee

OAKLAND, Calif. — The well-traveled veteran pitcher Edwin Jackson made his second start for the Oakland Athletics on Saturday, and he worked 6.2 innings, allowing two runs on two hits, while walking none to come away with his first victory in a Green and Gold uniform. Jackson’s teammates rewarded his efforts by coming from back from a 2-0 deficit to score seven runs off just eight hit to win their sixth consecutive game.

Neither starting pitcher allowed a hit or baserunner in the first three innings of the game. The Indians were the first to strike when they hit two home runs off Jackson in the top of the fourth inning. Francisco Lindor hit his 20th homer of the season into the right-field seats on a 1-1 count to lead off the inning. With one out, Jose Ramirez stepped up to the plate to face Jackson and jacked a 2-2 pitch over the center-field wall for his 24th round-tripper of 2018. Things were not looking good for Jackson at that moment.

Jackson settled down in the top of the fifth and he did not allow another baserunner in the remaining 1.2 innings he would pitch.

The A’s struck back in the home half of the sixth inning. Franklin Barreto led off with a double. Josh Phegley then hit his second home run of the year into the left field seats to tie the game at 2-2. Dustin Fowler followed up with a single through the hole at second. Mark Canha hit a line drive to left that hit at the top of the wall for a double that allowed the speedy Fowler to race home from first to score the A’s third run and give them the lead. Canha was thrown out trying to advance to third. Oakland took a lead 3-2 and would never trail in the game again.

Oakland would score four more times in the eighth inning to make the final score 7-2.

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Bob Melvin came out to congratulate and take starter Edwin Jackson out of the game Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

Edwin Jackson (1-0) gets credit for the win. The Indians’ starter Adam Plutko (4-2) is tagged with the loss. A’s reliever Lou Trivino picked up his third save of the season.

Oakland’s record improves to 46-38, and they are now 8.5 games behind the Astros in the AL West. The Indians fall to 44-37, but maintain an 8.0 game lead over the second-place Twins.

Melvin talks about his team after the game

In the Batter’s Box

A’s

  • Dustin Fowler snapped an 0-for-9 hitless streak with his single in the bottom of the sixth inning. Hitting his fifth home run of the year in the bottom of the eighth was just icing of the cake. Fowler was the only A’s player to have multiple hits in the game.
  • Matt Olson hit his 18th home run in the home half of the eighth inning as the A’s kept adding insurance runs to their lead. He has now hit 15 of his 18 home runs off right-handed pitching.
  • Mark Canha extended his hitting streak to nine games, which is the longest streak of his career. He has also reached base safely in his last 10 games.
  • Khris Davis hit a sacrifice fly to up his RBI total to 55 for the season.
  • The A’s went 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left just three runners on base.

Indians

  • Francisco Lindor is on fire. In his last 19 games, he is batting .306 (23-for-75) with six home runs, five doubles, 11 RBI and 20 runs scored.
  • Since the start of the 2017 season, Jose Ramirez leads the major leagues with 136 extra base hits. He entered the game on Saturday tied for fourth in the MLB with his teammate Francisco Lindor with 44 extra base hits so far this season.
  • Jason Kipnis has now reached base safely in each of his last 13 games. In those 13 games, he is batting .312 with three homers and eight runs scored.

On the Hill

A’s

  • Edwin Jackson still has not walked a batter since joining the A’s. He worked 6.2 innings giving up two runs (earned) off two hits (both HRs). He struck out six Cleveland hitters. Jackson threw 86 pitches (52 strikes).
  • The A’s used four relief pitchers to close out the game. Ryan Butcher, Emilio Pagan, Yusmeiro Petit and Lou Trivino worked the final 2.1 innings.
  • The plan was to have Petit close it out, but he looked a bit rusty when got up on the mound. Manager Bob Melvin said that was on him for not getting him into some games earlier in the week.

Indians

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Terry Francona has a little chat with umpire Tony Randazzo Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee
  • Indians starter Adam Plutko looked brilliant in the opening three innings but the wheels came off in the sixth inning. He pitched 5.2 innings allowing three runs (earned) on five hits. He walked one and struck out three.
  • The Indians used five pitchers in the contest.
  • Dan Otero and Josh Tomlin really struggled in the eighth inning when the A’s sealed the game by scoring four runs on just three hits. Two walks and two home runs were the fatal flaws for the relievers.
  • A familiar face to Bay Area baseball fans came into the game to shut down the A’s in the eighth inning, former Giant George Kontos was brought in to do the job.

Up Next

The A’s will try to complete their second consecutive series sweep on Sunday when they will close out this three-game series with the Indians. The Indians will start RHP Mike Clevinger (6-3, 3.03). The A’s will counter with RHP Frankie Montas (4-1, 3.68). First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM PDT.