Duncan’s grand slam not enough vs. A’s
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Even when Cleveland pitchers keep the walks to a minimum, they still seem to cause maximum damage.
Josh Donaldson hit a tiebreaking single with the bases loaded in the eighth inning and the Oakland Athletics rallied from four runs down to beat the Indians 6-4 on Friday night.
Shelley Duncan spotted Indians’ starter Zach McAllister to a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning with his first career grand slam but a walk to Brandon Moss in the bottom of the frame sparked a three-run A’s rally.
“The walks continue to hurt us,” Indians’ manager Manny Acta said. “There may have only been one or two but they both led to rallies.”
The Indians lead the AL with 415 walks issued. They also lead in runs allowed with 618.
“There’s a correlation there,” Acta said. “You’ve got to make them hit their way on.”
In the eighth, Joe Smith (7-3) walked Chris Carter to lead off the inning. He scored the go-ahead run.
“You have to be able to put people away,” Smith said. “When you give us the ball we’ve been pretty good all year. I blew it tonight but if they give me the ball tomorrow I’ll go out and battle.”
The A’s pulled within five games of first-place Texas in the AL West and a half-game of the second wild-card spot.
Asdrubal Cabrera had two hits for the Indians, who lost their third straight and fell to 10-24 since the All-Star Break.
“It seems like a lot of losses have been more frustrating than others,” Duncan said. “We need to turn this thing around.”
Cleveland managed only one hit and two baserunners following Duncan’s grand slam off Milone in the fourth.
Carlos Santana walked leading off the first and went to second when Cespedes misplayed Michael Brantley’s fly ball to left for an error. Jason Donald followed with a single to load the bases before Duncan hit a 3-2 pitch from Milone into the stands above the left-field scoreboard.
It was Duncan’s 11th home run this season but only his fourth hit in August. The designated hitter went into the game batting .107 this month. He’s hitting .175 (11 for 63) with runners in scoring position, but those 11 hits have produced 19 RBIs.
Cleveland starter Zach McAllister, who began the season with Triple-A Columbus, couldn’t make the four-run lead hold up. The right-hander had six strikeouts and one walk but pitched with runners on base in every inning.
NOTES: Acta said he expects to bring up at least one starter when rosters expand in September. … Cleveland slugger Travis Hafner, on the disabled list since Aug. 6, continues to rest after receiving an injection in his lower back last week. The Indians have no timetable for his return. RHP Bartolo Colon (9-9), who pitches for Oakland on Saturday, has a 2.47 ERA since coming off the disabled list July 3. RHP Corey Kluber (0-1) pitches the middle game for Cleveland in his fifth start this season.