In a pitcher’s duel in Oakland, the Cleveland Indians only needed one big knock to prevail over the A’s.
The Cleveland Indians relied on dominant pitching and got one big clutch hit en route to a 1-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Monday night. Carlos Carrasco looked like an ace on the mound, as he threw eight sharp innings for the victory, and Carlos Santana broke a scoreless tie in the eighth inning when he sent a 1-1 pitch from A’s reliever Ryan Dull into the seats for his 27th home run of the year.
Santana is coming up big in what amounts to a contract year (team option for 2017), having never hit more than 27 home runs in one season. Having already reached that mark with 39 games to go, it appears likely that he will eclipse it with ease this year.
With the win, the Indians improved to 72-51 on the season, pushing their lead in the American League Central to 7.5 games over a Detroit Tigers club that was idle on Monday. Meanwhile, the A’s dropped to 53-72, sinking further behind the frontrunning Texas Rangers in the AL West.
The two teams will resume the series with more late night action on Tuesday night for Cleveland fans, but before they do, let’s look at what we learned from this closely-contested matchup.
Nothing like a pitchers duel
Runs were at a premium Monday night, as both A’s starter Andrew Triggs and Carrasco were dealing. Triggs turned in the best start of his young career, allowing just three hits over six innings while striking out six Tribe batters.
The only problem for Triggs on this night: Carrasco was better. The Indians’ righty went eight shutout innings, giving up four hits and striking out nine batters, and Andrew Miller struck out the side in the ninth to complete his 11th save of the season, his second since being acquired at the trade deadline.
One of Miller’s strikeouts gave Oakland left fielder Khris Davis a golden sombrero, and should be making the rounds on SportsCenter and social media for some time to come.
Replay goes the Indians way
Former Indians outfielder Coco Crisp had the only extra base hit for the A’s, as he lined a ball into the right field corner. When Crisp tried to stretch it into a triple, though, he was gunned down courtesy of great relay execution by Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis. The A’s challenged the call, but replay review upheld the call on the field.
Was it the right call? You decide.
Santana touches the moon
Carlos Santana likes to hit the ball hard and far. The Indians were deadlocked in a tie when Santana stepped into the batters box in the eighth inning, but it was not tied when he left it.
Santana crushed a ball that just stayed fair down the right field line to give the Indians the lead. The Tribe mustered only seven hits all night, so the blast proved vital to giving the team its second straight win and a chance at a series victory on Tuesday.