CLEVELAND — Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Brett Anderson has had a tough season, but he’s also always had the Indians’ number. Sunday’s game was no different, and the Indians lost 6-0 to also drop the weekend series at Progressive Field.
Anderson (1-2) entered with a 7.63 ERA this year, but he also carried a career 0.96 ERA in four previous starts against the Indians. The latter trend was followed, and he tossed five scoreless innings, allowed only three hits and two walks and struck out three.
Even after his departure, the Indians’ offense never woke up on a sleepy Sunday. The Indians totaled only four hits and wasted a couple of scoring opportunities along the way.
Erik Gonzalez, who started the game in place of Jason Kipnis, who has a slight hamstring issue, was put on the spot twice in the first four innings but came up empty both times. In the second, the Indians had two runners in scoring position with two outs, but Gonzalez popped out to first baseman Matt Olson on a 3-0 count. Two innings later, Gonzalez was up with two outs and the bases loaded but grounded out to third base.
“I thought that they were pitching around him, and I thought the pitch that he would get would be a fastball on 3-0 so we let him swing and it wasn’t exactly what we were looking for,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “I think that’s stating the obvious.”
The Indians (49-39) again threatened in the sixth. Singles by Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion had the makings of a rally, but the Indians never hit anything past home plate. Brandon Guyer struck out, Rajai Davis fouled out behind the plate and Roberto Perez always became a strikeout victim.
Indians starting pitcher Shane Bieber (4-1) allowed four runs on eight hits and a walk and struck out seven in six innings. The A’s (50-40) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first partially aided by a missed pop-up by Francisco Lindor, who couldn’t see a fly ball off the bat of Mark Canha. Two batters later, Cahna scored on a double by Khris Davis. From there, the A’s cruised, later adding to their lead with a two-run home run by Stephen Piscotty in the sixth and a Jed Lowrie solo home run in the seventh.
“You know, he gave up two early and then he kind of found it a little bit, kind of like last start and then he gave up a two-run homer in the sixth that skewed his line,” Francona said of Bieber. “But he seems to — even for a young guy which is kind of good — if he’s not perfect early, he seems to pitch himself into really getting more comfortable and he’s what, five or six starts into his major league career and he gave up four and it seems like he didn’t pitch real well and I think he’s OK. He’s going to be a good one.”
Ryan Lewis can be reached at rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ.