OAKLAND, Calif. – Brian Fuentes insists he wasn't running out of gas when Athletics manager Bob Geren summoned him from the bullpen for a third straight day.
But after retiring only one batter and giving up three runs to the winningest team in baseball, Fuentes might need a break.
Orlando Cabrera hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the ninth in his lone at-bat, Fausto Carmona won for the third time in four starts and the Cleveland Indians beat Oakland 4-1 on Tuesday night for their seventh straight victory.
"I was a little tired but that's just the way the game goes," Fuentes said. "Sometimes I might sit for a while but if the phone rings, I'm going to get up. They put the ball in play. It wasn't like I walked everybody around."
Fuentes is serving as the A's closer while two-time All-Star Andrew Bailey is on the disabled list with a strained right forearm. Bailey, the 2009 AL Rookie of the Year, is set to throw to hitters before Wednesday's game. Bailey hasn't pitched this season because of a strained right forearm.
If all goes well, Bailey might throw again to hitters or progress straight to a simulated game. In the meantime, the A's will continue using Fuentes.
"Pushed him a little bit, but he's set up right there," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "Tie game with your closer in ... it would have been the perfect scenario if he would have just pitched the way he had been. He knows his body. He knows when he can go and when he can't. Tonight he very easily could have had a 1-2-3 inning. It just didn't happen."
Matt LaPorta and Jack Hannahan hit back-to-back one-out singles off Fuentes (1-3) in the ninth before Cabrera delivered against his former club. Asdrubal Cabrera then provided a two-run single as insurance.
LaPorta hit a tying RBI single in the seventh and the Indians produced another impressive win on a day that provided plenty of potential distraction for the AL Central leaders.
"We couldn't create anything," Orlando Cabrera said. "We got that break (against Fuentes) and we attacked."
Before the game, outfielder Shin-Soo Choo apologized to each of his teammates individually in the clubhouse for his Monday arrest on suspicion of drunken driving and any embarrassment it caused.
After that, Choo pulled the Indians into a tight huddle near the dugout before pregame warmups and batting practice. He started in right field and batted third, going 0 for 4 with a walk. Choo was booed by the small announced crowd of 10,135.
Carmona (3-3), a 13-game winner and first-time All-Star last year, gave up only Kurt Suzuki's RBI groundout in the fourth. He allowed five hits and one run, struck out five and walked one in eight strong innings — an efficient 96-pitch performance.
Chris Perez pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save in nine tries and second in two games.
The Indians kicked off a six-game California road trip against the AL West by continuing the momentum they gained during a 6-0 homestand that gave them a 13-game winning streak at Progressive Field.
Cleveland is just 7-6 away from home and has lost nine of its last 10 series at the Coliseum. Winning the opener of this series is a good start considering the Indians dropped two of three in Oakland last year and were outscored 22-6 — with shutouts of 10-0 and 11-0.
Tyson Ross is still looking for his first win since joining the A's rotation as a fill-in for the injured Dallas Braden.
Ross was rolling until allowing three singles in the seventh, including LaPorta's tying base hit. Still, Ross has a 0.68 ERA in his last two starts, lowering him to 2.38 over six overall outings.
The right-hander pitched with runners on base in five of his six-plus innings but escaped trouble with some help from Oakland's defense that went into the night tied with Houston for the major league lead in errors at 27.
The A's turned a double play in the fourth following Carlos Santana's leadoff single, then Suzuki made another stellar play in the fifth after Ross' pitch to Grady Sizemore hit the dirt and bounced several feet away from the Oakland catcher. Suzuki quickly retrieved the ball then threw out Adam Everett trying to steal second.
But Oakland couldn't produce enough offense after they just took three of four from the Rangers.