July 24, 2016

Partly cloudy

A’s 7, Indians 0: Tribe blanked again

CLEVELAND — Unwatchable. Disgusting. Deplorable. Disgraceful. Laughable. Heinous. Abysmal. Dreadful.

All of those words with negative connotation apply to the Indians right now.

They aren’t hitting, they aren’t pitching and they aren’t fielding — but they are losing, and losing lots, dropping another game Tuesday night at Progressive Field, 7-0, to Oakland.

It was the second straight night Cleveland was shutout, with the Indians failing to score a run over their last 22 innings — a season-high drought for a team that has been in free-fall mode since the end of July.

“Right now, we’re playing embarrassing baseball, just bad,” said second baseman Jason Kipnis, whose team has lost 25 of its last 30 games. “Offense, defense, pitching, it’s just not the way we’re used to. We have to play with a little more urgency.

“I mean, crap, we’ve got nothing to lose. We should be going out there and trying to play spoiler or something. If we’re going to lose every game, we might as well try to have fun and compete. Guys need to be more accountable.”

There was little competitive fire from the Indians, who were down 4-0 after three innings, facing what seemed like an insurmountable deficit.

Cleveland’s starting pitcher, Zach McAllister, began well, striking out the side in the first, before running into trouble in the next two innings.

McAllister allowed hits to the first three batters he faced in the second, leading to the two runs that were matched by a two-run home run from Brandon Moss with two outs in the third.

“I didn’t locate as well,” McAllister said of his effort after the first inning. “It’s definitely frustrating (losing). No one is happy with how we’re doing. Hopefully, everyone learns from it.”

Their was a small silver lining for McAllister (5-5, 3.82 ERA), who struck out a career-high eight batters, but lasted just 4 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits.

“Zach had one of those weird outings,” manager Manny Acta said. “He struck out a lot of guys, but he wound up with a high pitching count. It sounds strange, but he just couldn’t finish off some of the hitters.”

That wasn’t a problem for A’s pitchers, who worked around eight Cleveland hits to maintain the shut out.

Oakland starter Tommy Milone, a left-hander, allowed seven of the hits over six innings, working out of a key jam in the fourth inning after allowing consecutive hits to Shelley Duncan and Brent Lillibridge (double) to leave runners on second and third and no outs.

Milone (11-9, 3.73) kept Cleveland scoreless by striking out Casey Kotchman and Jason Donald in succession before getting Kipnis to ground to third.

“That really hurt us there,” Acta said of the fourth-inning failure. “We couldn’t execute at all.”

The Indians fell to 14-29 in games when the opposition starts a lefty.

Cleveland played shoddy defense all night.

Duncan dropped a fly ball on the run that was ruled a double for Adam Rosales in the fourth inning, and Shin-Soo Choo dropped a fly ball in the ninth inning that was ruled an error.

Lillibridge committed another error in the fifth on a double-play grounder.

Dating back to Aug. 19 in Oakland, the A’s have shut out the Indians in three straight games. It’s the first time since 1989 that the Indians have been blanked three straight times by the same opponent, with the A’s turning the trick that year as well.

Cleveland, which went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, is batting a paltry .196 in the department since the All-Star break.


Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.