For the second straight day, and the third game in a row the A’s held the Cleveland Indians to exactly zero runs. This time the game was pretty much decided by the 3rd inning when Brandon Moss hit his 14th home run of the season, a tape measure shot just to the right of centerfield that doubled the A’s lead at the time to 4-0. They tacked on another run in the 5th inning on Chris Carter’s 12th dinger of the year, an impressive shot to the opposite field power alley. They would add 2 more runs in the 9th inning on a Chris Carter RBI double and Seth Smith advancing home on a wild pitch.
Tommy Milone wasn’t terribly sharp tonight, but for once on the road he managed to work around his struggles and keep the opposition from putting runs on the board. He only worked 6 innings as his pitch count had risen over 100 pitches already, due in large part to the fact he did allow 8 baserunners via 7 hits, and a walk. Nevertheless the fact that he was able to shut the Indians down has to be encouraging for the A’s. It was thought he was wearing down a bit, so some extra rest over the last month seems to have done the trick to get him back in form.
The A’s bullpen once again proved to be extremely stingy as 3 relievers finished off the game for the A’s. Jerry Blevins took care of the bulk of the outs, pitching 1.2 innings while allowing just 1 hit (the only one allowed by the bullpen tonight). Blevins has very quietly become one of the most reliable arms Bob Melvin has to call on. Pat Neshek retired the lone batter he faced tonight, inducing a pop up from Shelley Duncan. Evan Scribner, the A’s mop up extraordinare sealed the victory in quick fashion, retiring the Indians in order in the 9th.
This was a nice win for the A’s, who have guaranteed themselves a worst case scenario of leaving Cleveland with a split of this 4 game series. But there is no doubt they will not be satisfied with that. Meanwhile the Texas Rangers continued their winning ways as well, defeating the Rays 1-0 behind Yu Darvish, so the A’s remain 5.5 games behind in the AL West for yet another day. The Rays loss puts them 1.5 games behind the A’s and the Baltimore Orioles, who occupy the 2 AL wildcard spots.
Travis Blackley will make the spot start tomorrow in the rotation spot once held by Bartolo Colon, he has a 4-3 record with a 3.52 ERA. He’ll be opposed by Corey Kluber who is without a win in 2012, and his ERA sits at 5.32. The A’s can guarantee a series victory tomorrow, and look to keep pace as well with the Orioles and the Rangers.