Injury-plagued Indians begin series vs. A's

Injuries may finally be catching up to the Cleveland game series with the Oakland Athletics at Progressive Field.

With Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner and Jason Kipnis already sidelined, the Indians got more bad news on Sunday when it was learned that leadoff man Michael Brantley will be lost for the remainder of the season to have right hand surgery to remove the hamate bone.

Then to make matters worse, Cleveland went out and lost a 2-1 decision to the Kansas City Royals.

Justin Masterson (10-8) was a hard-luck loser for the Indians, who now find themselves 6 1/2 games back of the Tigers in the AL Central. Although the Indians had won Masterson's last six starts, he was dealt the loss despite giving up only two runs on nine hits in six innings.

"Great effort by Masterson and the bullpen," said Indians manager Manny Acta. "He made pitches when he had to. He had traffic throughout the game, but made some good pitches. Our bullpen came in and did a good job."

The Indians were seeking their first series sweep since taking three from the Pirates in mid-June, but instead suffered their seventh loss in 10 games.

Tonight, the Indians will rely on lefty David Huff, who is 1-2 with a 2.70 ERA. Huff hasn't pitched since absorbing the loss on August 20 against Detroit, which battered him for five runs in just 2 1/3 innings.

Huff has faced Oakland twice and is 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA.

Oakland, meanwhile, will counter with righty Brandon McCarthy, who has won six of his last seven decisions. McCarthy won his second straight start on Tuesday in New York, as he held the Yankees to a three runs and eight hits in 7 2/3 innings, upping his record to 7-6, while lowering his ERA to 3.72.

McCarthy is 6-2 lifetime versus the Indians with a 5.01 ERA in 15 games (seven starts).

Thanks to Hurricane Irene Oakland hasn't played since getting swept in a doubleheader by the Boston Red Sox on Saturday. The A's lost the first game, 9-3, before they were blanked 4-0 in the nightcap.

"A long, tough day for us," said Oakland manager Bob Melvin.

Cleveland took two of three from the A's earlier in the year.