Josh Bell's long homer sends Guardians to 6-1 win, sweep of Oakland as A's drop 8th straight

Updated Jun. 22, 2023 4:45 p.m. ET

CLEVELAND (AP) — Josh Bell nearly dotted the “i.”

Bell homered off an “Ohio” sign beyond the left-field wall and Myles Straw hit an RBI triple, leading the Cleveland Guardians to a 6-1 win Thursday and three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics, who lost their eighth straight.

Bell's 430-foot shot in the fifth inning off JP Sears (1-5) smacked the “H” on the beer sign affixed to a pedestrian walkway in Progressive Field and tied it 1-1.

“I knew it was gone off the bat,” said Straw, who followed Bell's belt with his go-ahead triple two batters later. "I was hoping it would stay fair. I saw it on the replay hit whatever it is out there, the concourse or the walkway.


"So that was pretty cool. Pretty good blast.”

Bell's shot helped the Guardians complete their first sweep of 2023 and extend their winning streak to four games. They're one game behind first-place Minnesota in the AL Central.

The A's were swept for the 11th time and they dropped to 19-58, baseball's worst record. Their skid followed a seven-game winning streak.

Oakland's mark through 77 games is the worst in the majors since the Detroit Tigers went 18-59 to start 2003.

“We’re going to continue to work,” vowed manager Mark Kotsay, whose team led in every game in the series. "We’re going to continue to grind. We’ve seen some of the benefits with the winning streak we went through. We know we can compete and we know we can win.”

The A's were still within 2-1 in the eighth before reliever Yacksel Rios allowed four runs on two wild pitches and two bases-loaded walks.

Nick Sandlin (3-3) pitched two hitless innings in relief of Cleveland starter Logan Allen. Enyel De Los Santos worked two innings — getting a double play to end the seventh — and Eli Morgan finished the combined three-hitter.

Sears didn’t allow Cleveland a baserunner until the fourth, when José Ramírez fouled off three pitches with two strikes before grounding a two-out single into left. Ramírez, though, was thrown out trying to steal by A’s catcher Carlos Pérez.

Sears had faced the minimum through 4 1-3 innings before Bell connected for his seventh homer this season and 500th career RBI. Andrés Giménez followed with a bloop single and stole second before Straw, who hasn't homered since Aug. 26, 2021 — more than 1,000 plate appearances — tripled.

“I thought it was getting caught, to be honest with you,” Straw said. “The way (left fielder) Tony Kemp kind of went back on it, I feel like he was facing me looking up. It was kind of like a routine fly ball and I was hoping it at least got to the wall for that RBI and that go-ahead run. So fortunately enough it did.”

Sears allowed just four hits and struck out eight in seven innings.

Kemp's speed helped the A's take a 1-0 lead in the fifth on Aledmys Diaz's sacrifice fly.

After drawing a leadoff walk, Kemp was running when Esteury Ruiz hit a grounder to short. Kemp never slowed while rounding second and beat first baseman Bell's throw to third. Diaz followed with his fly to deep center.

Allen had to work hard to make it through just four innings, throwing 89 pitches.

The left-hander got himself into trouble in the fourth, when he walked three to load the bases. But with two outs, Allen froze Oakland's Shea Langeliers with a changeup for strike three to escape danger.


The A's have already played 10 extra-inning games, matching their total in 2022.


Guardians: As expected, OF Will Brennan (left shoulder soreness) got the day off after he fell hard while making a diving catch on the warning track in the fourth inning Wednesday. Manager Terry Francona said Brennan is sore and indicated he might be out a few days. Brennan is batting .327 (34 of 104) since May 16.


Athletics: Head North to Toronto, where RHP James Kaprielian (2-6, 6.38 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series against Blue Jays RHP Chris Bassitt (7-5, 4.16).

Guardians: RHP Shane Bieber (5-4, 3.51 ), who could be traded in the upcoming weeks, starts the opener of a three-game set against Milwaukee and Brewers RHP Wade Miley (4-2, 3.28). Miley pitched a no-hitter at Progressive Field in 2021 with Cincinnati.


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