As the old saying goes, you never kick a man when he’s down, and while that may not have been their intention, the Cleveland Indians roughed up an Oakland Athletics squad still reeling from a blown call Wednesday night by a final score of 9-2 at Progressive Field Thursday afternoon.
Bartolo Colon was the losing pitcher, giving up two home runs to put the finishing touches on a four-game sweep for the Tribe.
Colon got into trouble from the very first batter, giving up a single to lead off man Michael Brantley and leaving a fastball over the plate for Jason Kipnis in the next at-bat, who put it in the stands in left field to give the Indians a 2-0 lead with no outs.
Colon settled down from there to retire the next three batters, but he didn’t fare much better in the second. Mark Reynolds doubled in the first at-bat of the inning, and after a flyout by Lonnie Chisenhall, Yan Gomes smacked a RBI double down the right field line that Brandon Moss couldn’t field cleanly, allowing Gomes to advance to third and putting Cleveland up 3-0. Drew Stubbs then singled to right field to score Gomes, and Brantley did the same in the next at-bat to advance Stubbs to third, and he’d cross home plate on a sacrifice fly by Kipnis to make it 5-0 after two innings.
Nick Swisher added another run on a solo shot to lead off the fourth, and the Indians would finish off their onslaught with a three-run outburst against Evan Scribner in the fifth after Colon was yanked following the fourth, having surrendered six runs on eight hits with four strikeouts.
Meanwhile, Scott Kazmir was dealing against the A’s. The left-hander finished the day after six innings with 10 strikeouts, and the only run he allowed came on a solo home run by Josh Donaldson in his final inning on the mound. Aside from Donaldson rounding the basepaths, Kazmir only allowed five Athletics to get on board – three of them in the first inning – and only one would make it to second base.
Oakland added one more run on a RBI single from Eric Sogard in the top of the eighth, but a pitching change extinguished any shot the A’s had at extending the rally, and the Scott Barnes worked through the ninth to wrap up the sweep for Cleveland.
In replay-related news, Major League Baseball has announced that Wednesday night’s call will stand, so for anyone that was hoping the A’s would get a chance to replay the game from the tie in the top of the ninth before they left Cleveland for Seattle, sorry to disappoint you. We’ll have a more detailed column examining the whole fiasco Friday morning, but the incident has elicited a strong reaction around the league and was surely still on the mind of Bob Melvin’s team on Thursday.
Oakland will be back in action in Seattle against the Mariners Friday night, with Dan Straily pitching against Hisashi Iwakuma at Safeco Field. The A’s are 2-2 against Seattle after an four-game series against the Mariners to open the 2013 season. Game time is set for 7:05 PST.