CLEVELAND – Indians fans take solace, your Tribe leads the American League in one category – getting shut out.
In dropping a 5-0 decision to Oakland in the series opener Tuesday night at Progressive Field, the Indians were held scoreless for the 11th time this season, equaling Seattle for the most shutout losses in the AL.
It was no surprise which opponent and what pitcher it was doing the blanking this time around. The A’s have shut out Cleveland four times this season, three of them with right-hander Gio Gonzalez on the mound.
“Gio Gonzalez was pretty tough on us,” said Cleveland manager Manny Acta of Gonzalez, who allowed just five hits and struck out seven over seven innings of the Indians 12th loss in 15 games. “He had us pretty much all night. “He just dominated us the whole night. He’s done that three times now.”
Gonzalez hasn’t allowed a run in three starts against the Indians this year, covering 20 2/3 innings. He entered the night with a 3-0 record and 1.16 ERA in four career starts against Cleveland.
Though the Indians put some baserunners aboard against Gonzalez, two of them were courtesy of Oakland errors, and the Indians did nothing with their opportunities.
The Indians put two aboard with two outs on Oakland errors in the second, but failed to score when Trevor Crowe struck out to end the inning. Cleveland loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth, but Crowe was the culprit again, bouncing into a fielder’s choice out.
“We had some traffic out there but where we’re at right now offensively, we can’t be leaving 10 guys on base,” said Acta, whose team has been outscored 24-3 over its last four games.
“There was nothing different,” said Choo of Gonzalez’s effort. “Most guys tried to be more aggressive. We hit a lot of hard ground balls, but that’s it.”
The Indians got a better performance from starter Fausto Carmona, but the right-hander was still tagged with his fourth loss in four outings, allowing four runs on nine hits over 6 2/3 innings. Carmona’s last win came on Aug. 2.
“He gave us a chance,” Acta said. “He threw the ball better. Unfortunately, we continued to scuffle offensively.”
Carmona appeared to remedy the problems with his change-up, which had been coming to the plate at nearly the same speed as his sinking fastball as of late. He said he used the pitch effectively.
“I threw a lot of change-ups,” said Carmona, who is 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA over his last six starts. “I made a lot of outs with it. It was much better tonight. I threw a lot. I didn’t care what count.”
But it didn’t do Carmona any good in the win department, as his sagging offense and some mistakes on his part, added up to his 12th loss in 26 starts.
“I missed a couple pitches up but I tried to keep my team in the game,” said Carmona, who allowed two of Oakland’s three home runs on the night. “I can’t control the hitting. I can only control the pitch. I can’t control anything else.”
The A’s entered the game with the lowest homer count in the majors (73) but got long balls from Jeff Larish, Coco Crisp and Jack Cust. Oakland snapped a streak of 27 straight games hitting one or no homers, which accounted for the second-longest in club history.
The former Indian Crisp burnt his old teammates with a 3-for-5 performance that included everything but a triple. His leadoff homer off Carmona in the fifth put the A’s in front 3-0.
Cleveland was still in the game when Carmona departed, trailing 3-0 with Crisp on second after a leadoff double. But reliever Tony Sipp allowed a two-run homer to Cust, the first batter he faced.
Sipp entered the night leading the AL with the lowest percentage of inherited runners scoring against him (16.7), but he’s also allowed 10 homers in 48 innings.
“Tony has had some rough spots but he’s had a lot more good (outings) than bad ones. He’s going to give them up now and then because he goes right after guys.”
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.