A's target series win over Indians
The Oakland Athletics continue their push for the postseason as they take on the Cleveland Indians in the second chapter of a three-game series at O.co Coliseum.
Eric Sogard drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning and the Athletics held on to top the Indians, 3-2, in the opener on Friday. Yoenis Cespedes belted a two-run homer and Oakland's bullpen was used heavily after A.J. Griffin was relieved after five innings of action.
"We have a lot of confidence in our bullpen," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "The only surprise to me was (Sean) Doolittle giving up an inning. When we get in a position where we have the lead late in games, we always feel like winning here."
The bullpen did not have as much to worry about in Saturday's starter Dan Straily's last appearance. The 24-year old righty gave up just one run on six hits in 7 1/3 innings of work as Oakland defeated the Indians, 5-1. Straily had not lasted more than 4 2/3 innings in any of his prior three starts.
Cespedes's homer was his 20th of the season. It marked the fifth time he has gone yard in 16 games after going homerless for a career-high 25 consecutive games.
His efforts on Friday helped the A's creep within a half-game of Texas for first place in the AL West. Oakland is also tied with Tampa Bay atop the wild card standings.
The Indians are just 4 1/2 games back in the wild card race. They had won three of four coming into the series. On Friday, Justin Masterson (13-9) tossed 7 2/3 innings in a losing effort and Nick Swisher went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
Jason Kipnis hit a double for the second straight game and has reached base safely seven times while registering just eight at-bats over the past two games.
Asdrubal Cabrera lined out in his ninth inning at-bat with two outs and the bases loaded. He is hitless in his last 20 plate appearances, which is a career worst. Dating back to July 4, the switch-hitter has hit just .170 with three home runs and 15 RBI.
"I've got nothing to say," Cabrera said. "I just have to keep doing what I'm doing. Work hard, and good things will happen."
Cleveland's manager Terry Francona stressed the importance of Cabrera's ability to produce following Friday night's loss.
"We talk so much about keeping the line moving," Francona said. "We don't really have that big guy in the middle that's going to hit 30 (home runs), so we have to keep the line moving. So a guy like him -- a switch-hitter -- he and Swisher both, when they get hot, our lineup just fits so much better."
Ubaldo Jimenez could use some run support as he takes the hill for the Tribe Saturday. The right-hander has a 2.25 ERA since the All-Star break in four appearances, but he has collected just one winning decision during that span.
Jimenez lost his second consecutive start last Saturday after giving up three runs, two earned, on five hits over 6 1/3 innings versus the Dodgers. He has only lasted more than seven innings once in his previous 10 games.
After losing eight straight to the Athletics to close out last year's season series, the Indians opened up the 2013 matchup with a four-game sweep at home from May 6-9.