September 18, 2014

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Fausto falters in romp : A’S 13, Indians 7

CLEVELAND — Fausto Carmona all but left All-Star contention Wednesday night at Jacobs Field.
The rising right-hander, who was considered a candidate to represent the Indians in the upcoming Midsummer Classic in San Francisco, probably isn’t anymore after taking his worst beating of the season in a 13-7 loss to the Oakland A’s.
Losing for the third time in four starts, Carmona allowed a season-high eight runs on seven hits (two home runs) in just one official inning of a defeat that knocked the Indians out of the top spot in the Central Division. Cleveland trails the first-place Tigers by a half-game.
“Fausto just didn’t have it tonight,” said Indians manager Eric Wedge. “He was working behind a little bit and left a couple breaking balls up.
“He’s been great all yearlong for us. He’s going to continue to be great for us. It was just one of those nights.”
The end came quickly for Carmona, who had pitched at least six innings in 13 of his previous 14 starts.
After allowing three runs in the opening inning on a home run by Jack Cust, Carmona didn’t make it out of the second, failing to retire any of the five batters he faced as Oakland built a 9-0 lead through their first two trips to the plate.
Control problems led to the early unraveling with Carmona, who had walked more than two batters in an outing just once all season, walking two in the first before Cust connected to left-center on a 1-2 pitch.
Kurt Suzuki hit his second homer of the season — a two-run shot — in the second, with Carmona allowing an RBI double to Nick Swisher before getting the hook.
The performance left him with an 8-4 record and 3.92 ERA on the season, with just two wins in his last six starts.
“I was up in the strike zone and the ball wasn’t sinking as much,” Carmona said through an interpreter. “You hope that these games never come, but it’s part of the year.”
The A’s pounded Cleveland pitching for 18 hits, including six extra-base hits (three homers). Oakland had nine runs on 10 hits through the first two innings.
Cust, who hit a memorable walk-off homer off Fernando Cabrera in a comeback victory over the Indians in Oakland on May 13, drove in a career-high five runs with his 13th homer, a sacrifice fly and a single.
He has tortured Cleveland pitching this year to the tune of a .391 batting average (9-for-23) with five homers and 15 RBIs, compared to a .250 average, eight homers and 19 RBIs against all other opponents.
“He’s done well against us,” Wedge said. “Guys go through stretches like that against particular teams or particular pitchers.”
The Indians did their share of hitting as well, reaching double digits (11) with homers by Jhonny Peralta (13), Franklin Gutierrez (4), Casey Blake (11) and Travis Hafner (12). Blake’s solo shot to start the seventh was the 100th of his career.
Most of the offense came off Oakland’s bullpen with the Indians scoring just twice through six innings off A’s starter Lenny DiNardo, who allowed Peralta’s two-run homer in the second, but nothing else.
With Jason Stanford coming on for Carmona and saving Cleveland’s bullpen with 5 2/3 innings of work, the Indians closed within four runs of Oakland’s advantage by scoring five times in the sixth and seventh innings — all of the runs off homers.
Oakland added two in the ninth on a Shannon Stewart homer off Edward Mujica to complete the rout.
“Sometimes those early deficits are really tough to overcome,” Blake said. “I guess you’re up there saying, ‘We’re kind of out of it, let’s have some fun and see what we can get.’
“(Fausto) has been awesome for us all year. You have to give (Oakland) credit for getting it done against him.”
The game was delayed 29 minutes by rain with the A’s batting in the seventh inning, chasing the majority of the 18,614 fans in attendance to the exit gates.
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7137 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com.

Today
WHO: Cleveland vs. Oakland
TIME: 12:05
WHERE: Jacobs Field
PITCHERS: Byrd (6-3, 4.74 ERA) vs. Blanton (7-4, 3.19)
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM