Donaldson leads A’s past Tribe, 6-4
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – 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 Cleveland Indians 6-4 on Friday night.
Chris Carter drew a leadoff walk against Cleveland reliever Joe Smith (7-3) and Brandon Moss followed with a single. Pinch-hitter Josh Reddick then blooped a single into right field off Vinnie Pestano before Donaldson’s fourth hit of the night scored pinch-runner Adam Rosales.
Cliff Pennington added a sacrifice fly to cap the outburst for the A’s, who pulled within five games of first-place Texas in the AL West and a half-game of the second wild-card spot.
Shelley Duncan hit his first career grand slam for the Indians.
Jordan Norberto (4-1) pitched 1 2-3 innings for the win and Grant Balfour worked the ninth for his 10th save, capping a stellar night for Oakland’s bullpen after starter Tommy Milone struggled.
Cleveland managed only one hit and two baserunners following Duncan’s grand slam off Milone in the fourth. Pat Neshek relieved in the sixth and pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings before giving way to Norberto.
Donaldson, recalled from the minors Tuesday, had three singles, a double and two RBIs. It was the first four-hit game of his career.
The A’s also got an emotional lift from Reddick, their leading home run hitter who was not in the starting lineup after undergoing a second dental procedure earlier in the day.
Yoenis Cespedes had two hits, Pennington added two RBIs and Moss scored twice to help the A’s win for the 10th time in 21 games following a 16-2 run in July.
Cleveland dropped to 1-3 on its nine-game road trip. The Indians fell to 10-24 since the All-Star break, the worst mark in the AL.
It didn’t start out so bad for manager Manny Acta’s club.
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.
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.
He gave up an RBI double to Donaldson in the fourth and the A’s pulled within 4-2 when Moss scored on Derek Norris’ grounder. Pennington followed with a two-out single to drive in Donaldson.
Oakland tied it in the fifth when Cespedes doubled, stole third and scored on Carter’s sacrifice fly.
Milone struck out six and walked one. He is winless in his last five starts and has a 7.13 ERA during that span.
NOTES: Norris, Oakland’s catcher, was hit in the back of the head on Santana’s follow-through in the first but remained in the game. … Several members of the A’s 2002 team were on hand. The franchise is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Oakland’s 20-game winning streak, which was the subject of the movie “Moneyball.” … 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. … A’s LHP Brett Anderson (elbow) is slated to throw a bullpen Saturday. … 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. … Donald made his first career start in left field.