CLEVELAND — The Indians have already shown they are more than capable of hitting their way to a victory.
Now they’re proving they can pitch their way to one, too.
With another sparkling performance from the rotation Tuesday night, Cleveland, which entered the game tied for the major league-lead in home runs, edged by Oakland 1-0.
Over the last nine games, the Indians’ starting staff has posted a 7-1 record and 2.50 ERA.
More photos below.
“When you pitch, you give yourself a chance,” said manager Terry Francona, whose team won for the eighth time in nine games and for the 11th time in 15 games, improving to 4-12 when scoring less than three runs.
Right-hander Zach McAllister was the latest starter to toss a gem, overshadowing a solid effort from Ubaldo Jimenez the night before to work what may have been the finest outing of his young career.
With nearly everything in his arsenal working to perfection, McAllister (3-3, 2.63 ERA) allowed just five hits and a walk, while striking out four over 7 2/3 innings. He was on the mound for the eighth, but was relieved after allowing a two-out single to John Jaso.
“I think he went 2-0 on one hitter the whole night,” Francona said of McAllister, who won his second straight start after getting seven home runs his last time out. “He located his fastball, he was able to back-door his breaking ball to lefties, he threw a split.
“He ran the game.”
McAllister allowed just two hits over the first five innings and didn’t permit a runner to advance to second base — Oakland did not have a runner reach second for the duration of the night.
“Everyone wants to go out and do better than the person in front of them,” McAllister said of the starting staff. “I was able to get ahead of hitters. When you do that, you can get into a pretty good rhythm.”
Despite producing more than a quality start, McAllister was still in jeopardy of taking a hard-luck loss, with Oakland starter Tommy Milone also doing a number on Cleveland hitters.
Milone allowed only an unearned run on five hits over seven innings, with the Indians scoring their run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Yan Gomes. Gomes plated Carlos Santana, who started the inning with a hard grounder off the glove of first baseman Brandon Moss that went for a double-error, when second baseman Eric Sogard grabbed the deflected ball and threw wildly to first.
Gomes, who is up again to back up Santana, with Lou Marson on the disabled list, also loomed large on the defensive end — in a pivotal moment of the game.
Closer Chris Perez allowed a one-out single to Yoenis Cespedes to put the game-tying runner on base, but Gomes erased Cespedes on a perfect throw after Oakland’s center fielder tried to steal second base.
“That was one of the plays of the game,” Perez said. “That was a huge one.”
Perez, an All-Star closer the past two seasons, has been in few save situations this year. It was his first save since April 22.
“We’re playing good ball,” Perez said. “If our offense is adding on, I’m not going to complain about that.”
Cleveland’s bullpen was on the mark again, but another sparkling effort from the rotation — McAllister — was the story of the night.
The 25-year-old McAllister is performing well out of the gate in his first full season as a member of a big-league starting staff.
“He is learning so fast,” Francona said. “The game’s not speeding up on him at all. He executes pitches. I told him during the Winter Meetings, ‘One of your goals should be that whenever you take the mound, we feel like we should win.’ And I think that’s how we feel.”
The Indians are two games over .500 for the first time since they began the season 2-0.
Oakland outhit Cleveland 6-5, accounting for the first time since 1968 that the Indians have won a 1-0 game while being outhit and without the benefit of an earned run.
- WHO: Cleveland vs. Oakland
- TIME: 7:05
- WHERE: Progressive Field
- PITCHERS: Masterson (4-2, 3.64 ERA) vs. Griffin (3-2, 3.79)
- TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM