The Oakland Athletics worked the count early and often on Monday night to chase Cleveland Indians starter Carlos Carrasco after five innings, then continued the power surge that’s spanned the duration of their ongoing road trip to hold on for a 6-4 win in the series opener at Progressive Field.
Jurickson Profar and Matt Olson each hit early homers off Carrasco, who threw 100 pitches and walked two, the first free passes the Venezuelan hurler had allowed since April 28. Even when the A’s weren’t scoring, they ensured the Indians would need to go to their bullpen quickly. Though Carrasco would strike Josh Phegley and Marcus Semien out to end the top of the second after Oakland (23-25) had men on second and third with one out, he needed 55 pitches to record his first six outs.
Olson would double the lead with his homer in the third, and Phegley singled in the fourth to make it 3-0 after a leadoff double by Robbie Grossman, a one-time Indians spring training invitee who doubled and reached base twice on the night.
Brett Anderson gave a run back in the bottom of the fourth on an Oscar Mercado RBI single and left with one out in the sixth with a cervical strain, adding to his list of unusual maladies. Anderson exited after throwing 75 pitches, having suffered the injury while trying to avoid a broken bat on a fifth-inning ground out by Roberto Perez, and couldn’t shake it.
Matt Chapman singled in a run off Dan Otero in the seventh, but Yusmeiro Petit would give it right back, allowing a homer for the fourth time on the year. Petit got the final two outs of the sixth, but allowed a solo shot to Perez to cut it to 4-2 before Ryan Buchter was called on to complete the seventh. Things got even more interesting in the eighth as Lou Trivino was squeezed by home plate umpire Nic Lentz and issued two walks before a Jose Ramirez RBI single made it a one-run game. After Perez drew the third walk of the inning, Blake Treinen was called on and got Carlos Gonzalez to ground out to end the inning.
Just as the A’s had scored off one former teammate in Otero, they added on in the ninth against Tyler Clippard, who allowed a two-run homer to Chapman to put the game away, rendering Francisco Lindor’s solo homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth null and ensuring Oakland would at least have a chance for a series win in Wednesday’s matinee, even if Trevor Bauer brings his best stuff to the hill for the Indians in the middle game.