(Sports Network) - The Oakland Athletics will continue their playoff push
tonight as they host the Cleveland Indians for the second segment of their
three-game set at the Coliseum.
Oakland is just one-half game behind Baltimore and Detroit for the second Wild
Card spot in this season's close playoff race. The A's won their second game
in a row on Friday as they downed Cleveland, 6-4, in the opening game of the
Josh Donaldson came up in the clutch in just his third stint in the majors to
help Oakland rally to a victory with a tie-breaking RBI single in the bottom
of the eighth inning that put his team up for good. Donaldson went 4-for-4
with two doubles and the same number of RBI in the contest to raise his
batting average to .196.
Catcher Derek Norris added an RBI and Cliff Pennington drove in two to give
the Athletics some pop at the bottom of their lineup.
A's left-hander Tommy Milone gave up a grand slam but avoided a loss with a
no-decision. Manager Bob Melvin was pleased with his starter's performance
with the exception of the one pitch that caused four runs.
Melvin hopes to get an even stronger showing from his starter tonight as
Bartolo Colon takes the mound in search of his 10th win of the season.
The veteran right-hander had an impressive three-game winning streak in which
he did not allow a run and struck out 13 batters, but that momentum ended when
he surrendered five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning in a loss to the
White Sox on Sunday.
"They were making better contact, seeing the ball better," Colon said through
a translator after the loss. "Too many fastballs in that inning. Everyone
knows I'm a fastball pitcher. Some were a bit up, and they were looking for
Colon, who began his MLB career with Cleveland in 1997, gave up just two hits
in 6 2/3 innings as a member of the Yankees in a 4-0 win over the Indians in
his only start versus the Indians since 2009.
Corey Kluber began his MLB career in 2011 with Cleveland. The beginning stages
of his run with the team have not been too promising. Kluber was pulled in the
fourth inning his last time out after giving up six runs and seven hits to the
Red Sox in what turned into a 14-1 rout. The right-hander was called up in
early August and made three starts since. He enters Saturday with an 8.56 ERA
after being hit around in his three career starts.
"Kluber just didn't have command of his fastball," Indians manager Manny Acta
said after Sunday's blowout loss to Boston. "It was up in the zone. Everything
was up. He didn't establish it and he wasn't able to use that swing-and-miss
slider that he has. It put us in a bind there."
The Indians collectively struck out 11 times in Friday's loss. Shelley
Duncan's grand slam was the sole source of offense for Cleveland. Shortstop
Asdrubal Cabrera went 2-for-4 with a double, but the struggling Shin-Soo Choo
was unable to follow his lead. Choo is just 2-for-23 with 10 strikeouts in his
past seven games.
Although facing a seasoned veteran, none of Cleveland's active players have
more than eight at-bats against Colon.
Oakland is 35-26 at home this season and trails Texas by five games for the AL
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