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Oakland at Cleveland

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Oakland (75-81) «0201330009150
Cleveland (91-63)0000201003101

Indians miss on first chance to clinch AL Central

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- With a chance to pop champagne, the Cleveland Indians couldn't even clinch a popup.

An early misplay on Mark Ellis' easy infield fly doomed Cleveland, Dan Haren pitched six strong innings and Jack Cust homered as the Athletics delayed the Indians from winning the AL Central with a 9-3 victory on Saturday night.

Ellis homered and drove in three runs as the A's built a 6-0 lead and spoiled Cleveland's plans of wrapping up its first division title since 2001 and partying until Sunday's early hours.

"It wasn't in the cards for us," Indians manager Eric Wedge said.

But the Indians' magic number was lowered to one when second-place Detroit lost 7-4 at home to Kansas City.

Cleveland, a disappointing fourth-place finisher last season, can lock up a playoff spot on Sunday by winning its final regular-season home game.

Still, the Indians lamented a chance to become the first team to qualify for the postseason and the possibility of a long October.

"It sure would have been nice to be in here watching the Tigers game end," Paul Byrd (15-7) said in a somber Cleveland clubhouse. "I felt a hunger to get it done. But it wasn't meant to be."

Haren (15-8), the AL's starter in the All-Star game, won for the first time in six starts since Aug. 21. The right-hander, battling Cleveland's Fausto Carmona for the league's ERA title, allowed two runs and seven hits.

"I've struggled to pick up a win of late, but to be honest I probably had my worst stuff that I've had in a month," Haren said.

Cleveland fans, who have been slow to embrace these Indians all summer, sold out Jacobs Field. They came to the ballpark dressed in shades of red and were ready to party. Their hopes for a memorable night rose when the out-of-town scoreboard flashed a second-inning update from Comerica Park: KC 5, Det 1.

But at about the same time, Ellis' towering pop off Byrd (15-7), on what should have been the third out of the second, landed with a thud between the right-hander and two embarrassed teammates -- a missed chance, symbolic of the whole night.

"If I had to do it over again, I would have just run over there and caught it myself," Byrd said. "That was bad quarterbacking there."

Grady Sizemore hit a two-run homer in the fifth to pull Cleveland within 6-2, but the A's countered with three runs in the sixth as Cust hit a two-run homer to blow it open and put the Indians' celebration on hold for at least another day.

Cleveland had its four-game winning streak stopped and dropped to 21-6 since Aug. 25.

Ellis gave the A's a 3-0 lead in the fourth with his 19th homer, a leadoff shot that landed on the home run porch in left. Oakland chased Byrd in the fifth with three runs, two on an RBI double by Ellis.

Thanks to a communication breakdown between Byrd, third baseman Casey Blake and catcher Kelly Shoppach, the A's scored twice with two outs in the second.

Byrd got Ellis to hit a fly and the right-hander immediately pointed skyward as he, Blake and Shoppach converged near the foul line. But none of them took charge and it fell for a single.

"Best hit I've ever had in my life," Ellis said. "It went all of about, what, 20 feet? I didn't know what was going on, I was just running to first base. I saw the replay and it looked like Byrd was going to take it, then Shoppach, and they both backed off."

Marco Scutaro followed with a base hit and Jack Hannahan brought both runners home with a gapper to right-center. The A's could have gone up by three but Hannahan was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Kenny Lofton.

Sizemore's 24th homer, a 421-foot shot to right, got Cleveland within 6-2 in the fifth and briefly ignited the crowd of 40,663.

But Nick Swisher, back in Oakland's lineup after serving a three-game suspension, hit an RBI double off Tom Mastny and Cust followed with a shot to straightaway center, his seventh homer against the Indians this season.

It was a rare off night for the Indians, who haven't had many like it.

"You want to get it over as soon as you can," Blake said. "But you have to look at it like it just wasn't meant to be. We're going to lose games. Maybe it was good for us to get our butts kicked so we come out with the energy we need."

Notes

  • Haren has a 3.12 ERA, slightly behind Carmona's 3.03.
  • Ellis' 76 RBI are the most by an A's second baseman since the club moved to Oakland in 1968. Phil Garner had the previous high with 74.
  • Cust's seven homers tie him with Mark McGwire (1990), Jose Canseco (1990) and Bob Cerv (1958) for the most by an A's hitter against Cleveland in one season. Cust is batting .417 with 19 RBI in nine games against Cleveland.
  • It was only the 10th sellout at the Jake, which was packed 455 consecutive times when the Indians dominated the Central in the late-1990s.
  • Indians LHP Cliff Lee, demoted to the minors this season, pitched two scoreless innings.
  • Cleveland DH Travis Hafner went 3-for-4, his first three-hit game since July 15.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Mark Ellis takes Paul Byrd deep, helping to ruin Cleveland's first chance to clinch the Central.  (AP)
Mark Ellis takes Paul Byrd deep, helping to ruin Cleveland's first chance to clinch the Central. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cleveland

T. Hafner
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
Oakland

M. Ellis
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
 

Related Video

Oakland Athletics
Shannon Stewart, LF5120000 .288
Daric Barton, 1B4110101 .320
Nick Swisher, CF-RF5232001 .267
Jack Cust, RF5222013 .263
    Jeff DaVanon, CF0000000 .213
Dan Johnson, DH3000212 .232
Mark Ellis, 2B5233011 .275
Marco Scutaro, SS4110112 .262
Jack Hannahan, 3B5022032 .293
Kurt Suzuki, C5010003 .254
Totals41915947  
Batting
2B - Shannon Stewart (21, Byrd), Daric Barton (7, Byrd), Nick Swisher (35, Mastny), Mark Ellis (32, Mastny), Jack Hannahan (11, Byrd)
HR - Jack Cust (26, Mastny), Mark Ellis (19, Byrd)
RBI - Nick Swisher 2 (75), Jack Cust 2 (82), Mark Ellis 3 (76), Jack Hannahan 2 (22)
2-OUT RBI - Nick Swisher (31), Jack Cust 2 (23), Jack Hannahan 2 (13)
Team LOB - 9
Oakland Athletics
Dan Haren (W,15-8) 6722161 3.12
Jerry Blevins 1211000 4.15
Ruddy Lugo 1100000 5.36
Huston Street 1000110 2.81
WP - Dan Haren (10)
Pitches-Strikes - Dan Haren 106-68, Jerry Blevins 22-15, Ruddy Lugo 9-6, Huston Street 16-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dan Haren 7-5, Ruddy Lugo 2-1
Batters Faced - Dan Haren 26, Jerry Blevins 5, Ruddy Lugo 4, Huston Street 4
Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF5112021 .272
Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B5110011 .285
Travis Hafner, DH4031101 .256
Victor Martinez, 1B4010013 .301
Jhonny Peralta, SS4000012 .270
Casey Blake, 3B4020010 .267
Kenny Lofton, LF3010001 .299
Franklin Gutierrez, RF4110003 .272
Kelly Shoppach, C3000012 .257
   a- Trot Nixon, PH0000100 .255
Totals36310327  
a-walked for Shoppach in the 9th
Batting
2B - Asdrubal Cabrera (9, Blevins), Travis Hafner 2 (24, Haren, Haren)
HR - Grady Sizemore (24, Haren)
SH - Kenny Lofton (6)
RBI - Grady Sizemore 2 (76), Travis Hafner (96)
2-OUT RBI - Travis Hafner (30)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Kenny Lofton 1
E - Kelly Shoppach (4, Missed catch of throw)
Cleveland Indians
Paul Byrd (L,15-7) 4.1966231 4.55
Thomas Mastny 1.2433121 4.67
Cliff Lee 2100010 6.40
Aaron Fultz 1100110 2.91
Pitches-Strikes - Paul Byrd 83-59, Thomas Mastny 36-22, Cliff Lee 34-23, Aaron Fultz 18-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Paul Byrd 6-3, Cliff Lee 3-2, Aaron Fultz 1-1
Batters Faced - Paul Byrd 23, Thomas Mastny 10, Cliff Lee 7, Aaron Fultz 5
Game Information
Attendance - 40663
Game Time - 3:05
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - Greg Gibson, First Base - Larry Vanover, Second Base - James Hoye, Third Base - Tony Randazzo