Following their 3-2 victory Friday evening, the A’s were looking to make it three straight wins Saturday in front of a sold out crowd. The coliseum gates opened early to allow the fans to catch a glimpse at the normally closed A’s batting practice sessions. Those that showed up in time for the show, and judging by the lines outside the coliseum of fans hoping to snag one of the 10,000 bobbleheads being given away, there were plenty of people inside, were treated to a huge display of power by several of the A’s hitters.
The man everyone came to see, Yoenis Cespedes, the 2013 Home Run Derby Champion, certainly did not disappoint. Several of his batting practice swings found their ways over the fences. One particular blast found its way into the second deck of the bleachers in dead-center field, above the luxury suites over the batter’s eye.
Unfortunately, the pregame spectacle was just about the only show the A’s put on Saturday evening, eventually losing to the Indians 7-1 and falling to 1.5 games behind Texas in the AL West.
The Indians got off to a quick start against Dan Straily and the A’s. Former fan-favorite, Nick Swisher, connected on the first offering by Straily, a 90 MPH fastball, for a laser to the right field bleachers and an instant 1-0 lead. Just like that, five pitches into the game, the A’s were already trailing.
Straily would strike out Jason Kipnis for the second out of the inning, also his second strikeout thanks to the leadoff strikeout by Michael Bourn. He’d give free passes to the next two batters he faced, Carlos Santana and Michael Brantly, before Asdrubal Cabrera would step to the plate and break his recent 0-for-20 slide with a line drive single to Josh Reddick in right field, scoring Santana and giving the Indians a 2-0 cushion before the A’s would even come to the plate.
Ubaldo Jimenez was cruising through the first two innings, facing the minimum while recording three strikeouts. Seth Smith got things going with a leadoff walk to represent Oakland’s first base runner of the game in the third inning, but Jimenez instantly battled back, striking Stephen Vogt out on three pitches and getting Eric Sogard to pop out to center field. Alberto Callaspo drew a five-pitch walk to give the A’s runners at first and second. Jed Lowrie was unable to bring the runners home though, recording the third out of the inning by popping out to third base on the eighth pitch of his at-bat after working a full count. Despite the two base runners, the A’s still did not have their first hit of the game.
Brandon Moss and Josh Donaldson both walked in the fourth inning, representing the A’s third and fourth base runners of the game, but again the A’s failed to collect a hit or push the runners across the plate.
Reddick proved again why despite his offensive struggles, he is still valuable to the team because of his defense, making a “Reddickulous” throw to Donaldson at third for a 9-5 doubleplay in the fifth inning, perhaps saving a future run for the Straily. Bourn lined out to Reddick and Drew Stubs, who had led off the inning with a double, was thrown out trying to tag up and advance to third. Swisher followed with a walk, but Kipnis would ground out to end the inning and allow Straily to escape the jam, thanks to the amazing play by Reddick.
Straily’s luck ran out in the sixth, allowing two more doubles to Brantley and Cabrera, with the latter bringing in Brantley and pushing the score to 3-0. Jerry Blevins was summoned to come in and face Lonnie Chisenhall. Straily’s final line was 5.2 innings pitched, six hits, three earned runs, four walks, seven strikeouts and one home run. Of his seven hits, six were for extra bases: the one homer, and five doubles.
Reddick was hit by a pitch with one out in the sixth inning and Yoenis Cespedes followed with a walk, the fifth allowed by Jimenez on the night to once again give the A’s an opportunity to break through against the Indians. This time they finally would, as Josh Donaldson finally made Jimenez pay for his wildness with a sharp single to center field that brought Reddick home and gave Oakland their first run of the game, on their first hit of the game. That was it for Jimenez for the night, replaced by Rich Hill. Chris Young, pinch hitting for Seth Smith, ended the threat with a strikeout to strand Cespedes and Donaldson.
The Indians struck again in the seventh when Bourn homered on a Blevins’ slider to push the score to 4-1. They tacked on three more runs in the ninth inning against Jesse Chavez on RBI singles by Swisher and Kipnis.
Josh Donaldson accounted for two of the A’s three hits on the night, finishing the evening 2-for-3 with a walk and the A’s only RBI. Cespedes, being honored with a bobblehead of his likeness, recorded the A’s third and only other hit against the Indians.
With the news that Bartolo Colon is headed to the 15-day disabled list, the A’s will turn to Tommy Milone on Sunday as they look to win the rubber game of the series and steal a series victory over the Indians. Milone will square off against Scott Kazmir.