Indians shut out in second straight game
CLEVELAND (AP) — The negative numbers keep mounting for the Cleveland Indians.
And it appears there’s no end in sight.
Tuesday night’s 7-0 loss to Oakland was yet another lackluster performance for a team that has collapsed in the last month.
The Indians are 5-25 since July 27 and have lost 12 of 13. Cleveland has had losing streaks of 11 and nine games in this stretch that has taken them from contention for first place to fighting to stay out of the basement in the AL Central.
“Right now we’re playing embarrassing baseball, just bad,” second baseman Jason Kipnis said. “Offense, defense, pitching. It’s not the way we’re used to doing it.”
Manager Manny Acta, who has been given two votes of confidence from the front office during the skid, has watched the season spiral out of control.
“A loss is a loss,” he said. “Every single one of them hurts. Today was not a good game.”
“It’s definitely not fun,” losing pitcher Zach McAllister said. “No one’s happy with how we’re doing.”
While starting pitching was the chief culprit in the 11-game slide, the offense is now taking its turn. The Indians have been shut out in 22 consecutive innings and are scoreless in 45 of their last 48 innings. It hasn’t helped that Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera, two key figures in the lineup, are slumping. Choo, who entered the game in an 0-for-13 skid, had one hit in three at-bats while Cabrera was 1 for 4 and is in a 4-for-35 slump.
Oakland’s pitchers dominated Cleveland for the second straight night. Tommy Milone and three relievers held the Indians to seven hits.
“We couldn’t do much,” Acta said. “We couldn’t execute at all. It started from the first inning. We’ve scored six runs the whole homestand. That’s not going to get it done.”
Oakland has outscored the Indians 17-0 in their last three meetings. It started with a 7-0 home win Aug. 19 behind Jarrod Parker’s eight strong innings. Brett Anderson worked seven innings in a 3-0 win in this series opener Monday.
“I think it is more about us being in a good stretch,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “They have a lot of guys in their lineup that get your attention.”
Cleveland’s offensive futility was on full display in the fourth, when the Indians put runners on second and third with no outs. Milone struck out Casey Kotchman and Jason Donald. Third baseman Josh Donaldson then made a barehanded scoop and throw on a slow roller to retire Kipnis at first to keep the shutout intact.
Sloppy play in the field didn’t help Cleveland. Shortstop Brent Lillibridge threw away a potential double play ball and Choo dropped a fly ball for errors. Left fielder Shelley Duncan saw a fly ball hit off his glove that was ruled a double and Oakland’s final run scored on a wild pitch.
McAllister (5-5) struck out the side in the first, but it was all downhill from there. The right-hander gave up two runs in the second and then allowed a two-run homer in the third to Brandon Moss in the third. Chris Carter led off the fifth with a home run.
“I wasn’t able to locate the ball in the second inning,” McAllister said. “I left some balls over the plate and they made it hurt.”
McAllister allowed five runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings. He struck out eight, walked three and threw 110 pitches
“Zach had one of those weird outings,” Acta said. “He struck out a ton of guys. He pitched ahead in the count, but ended up with an unbelievable amount of pitches.”
Oakland began the second with three straight singles, the last coming from Moss that gave the Athletics a 1-0 lead. Adam Rosales’ RBI single scored the second run.
Moss’ homer to center landed in the shrubbery 423 feet from home plate and gave Oakland a 4-0 lead.
Oakland is 5-0 against Cleveland and has won 10 of 12 since dropping eight of 13.
NOTES: RHP Roberto Hernandez will test his sprained right ankle when he throws in the bullpen Wednesday. He left Monday’s game in the third inning after hurting the ankle while backing up home plate. Hernandez played catch Tuesday. … Cabrera, who didn’t play Monday, was the DH on Tuesday. …. Indians 3B Lonnie Chisenhall (broken right forearm) is taking batting practice and doing infield drills. He could begin a minor league rehab assignment in a few days … Indians RHP Corey Kluber (0-1) faces LHP Travis Blackley (4-3) on Wednesday.