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Indians get support from LaPorta, puppies to top A's

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- Matt LaPorta, Justin Masterson and the young Cleveland Indians are learning dogged determination can get the job done.

LaPorta hit a go-ahead two-run homer to help Masterson (5-12) win for only the second time in 10 starts as Cleveland broke a five-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday night.

"It was a well-pitched ballgame and you need those to snap out of losing streaks," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "These guys are young and test your patience, but I am happy both kids contributed tonight."

More on the Indians

While the dog days of summer have been unkind to the Indians, they got a small attendance boost on "Puppypalooza Night," a promotion in which fans bought tickets for their dogs.

The Indians clawed back to avoid a three-game sweep and won for the fourth time in 17 games.

"It makes it a little more fun to come to the park tomorrow and hopefully put a [winning] streak together," Masterson said.

LaPorta hit the first pitch thrown to him from Vin Mazzaro (6-6) with two outs in the sixth inning to put Cleveland ahead 3-2. Trevor Crowe lined a two-out single to left. Then LaPorta, 0 for 5 in his career against the right-hander, broke a 4 for 44 (.091) slump with his eighth homer.

A few woofs of approval along with a genuine bark or two were heard from the crowd of 11,826. That included 269 canines, according to an Indians spokesman.

"Let's have one for the players," closer Chris Perez said. "Why not? That would be fun bringing in our dogs and walking around."

Perez, the Indians' fourth pitcher, struck out four over 1 2/3 innings for his 16th save in 20 chances. It was the first five-out, one-run save for Cleveland since David Riske did it May 13, 2003, against Detroit.

"Was that a save or what?" Acta exclaimed. "That was a legit save, a throw back. Perez was lights out. His command was tremendous."

Masterson was sharp, too. The right-hander threw 19 of 26 first-pitch strikes while allowing five hits and two runs over six innings for his first win in four starts since Aug. 4. He improved to 1-3 in five starts against AL West opponents, including an 11-0 defeat to Oakland on April 25 in which he gave up seven runs in four innings.

"He had real big movement on his fastball," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "We had trouble barreling it up. We hit balls on the ground."

Gabe Gross' two-out bloop single to left put the Athletics ahead 1-0 in the second inning.

Michael Brantley tied it with an RBI single in the fifth, when the Athletics also played fine defense.

Shortstop Cliff Pennington went into the hole to backhand LaPorta's sharp grounder, then bounced a throw across the diamond that was scooped up by first baseman Daric Barton for the out.

Luis Valbuena followed with a sinking liner that center fielder Coco Crisp caught at his shoetops. With Brantley on second after a single by Asdrubal Cabrera, left fielder Jack Cust, normally a designated hitter, made a diving grab of Shin-Soo Choo's bid for a bloop RBI single.

Kevin Kouzmanoff put Oakland ahead 2-1 with a two-out RBI double in the sixth. He has 15 RBI in 11 career games against his former team, batting .368, 14 for 38.

Mazzaro gave up three runs and seven hits over 6 1/3 innings to fall to 0-4 in six starts since July 29.

"He threw the ball OK," Geren said. "Obviously, the pitch to LaPorta wasn't where he wanted it. It was still a quality start. We just didn't get enough runs today."

Mazzaro's outing gave Oakland 18 consecutive games with starters going at least six innings and allowing three earned runs or fewer, the longest streak by the franchise since the 1927 Philadelphia Athletics had 18 in a row.

Notes

  • Fans had to buy a ticket for their dog, have the pet on a leash, and present papers that it had its shots. Dogs and owners had a parade around the warning track before the game.
  • Oakland has not swept a three-game set in Cleveland since September 1989, but did take four straight Aug. 19-22, 2002.
  • Oakland C Kurt Suzuki went 0 for 4 and is hitless in his last 22 at-bats, one short of his career worst set May 7-14, 2008.
  • LHP Rafael Perez worked a perfect seventh. Since June 1, he has lowered his ERA from 7.20 to 3.10.
  • The Indians announced that RHP Hector Rondon, their minor-league pitcher of the year in 2009, had Tommy John surgery. He's been sidelined since May 12.
 
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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Trevor Crowe greets Matt LaPorta after LaPorta clubs a go-ahead two-run homer.  (AP)
Trevor Crowe greets Matt LaPorta after LaPorta clubs a go-ahead two-run homer. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cleveland

M. LaPorta
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
Cleveland

J. Masterson
IP 6.0
H 5
ER 2
BB 2
K 3
 

Related Video

Oakland Athletics
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Coco Crisp, CF5000014 .278
Daric Barton, 1B5010011 .278
Kurt Suzuki, C4000010 .238
Jack Cust, LF1000100 .274
    Rajai Davis, PR-LF0100100 .270
Mark Ellis, 2B2100112 .255
Jeff Larish, DH4010013 .238
Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B4021014 .258
Gabe Gross, RF4011012 .239
Cliff Pennington, SS3010111 .255
Totals3226248  
Batting
2B - Kevin Kouzmanoff 2 (31, Masterson, Masterson)
RBI - Kevin Kouzmanoff (61), Gabe Gross (22)
2-OUT RBI - Kevin Kouzmanoff (19), Gabe Gross (12)
SB - Rajai Davis 2 (39, 2nd base off Masterson/Marson, 2nd base off Smith/Marson), Cliff Pennington (21, 2nd base off Perez/Marson)
CS - Daric Barton (3, 2nd base by Masterson/Marson)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Kouzmanoff-Ellis-Barton
Oakland Athletics
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Vin Mazzaro (L,6-6) 6.1733251 3.61
Jerry Blevins 1000000 3.83
Brad Ziegler 0.2000100 3.35
IBB - Crowe by Brad Ziegler
HBP - Choo (by Jerry Blevins)
WP - Vin Mazzaro (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Vin Mazzaro 97-60, Jerry Blevins 13-8, Brad Ziegler 13-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Vin Mazzaro 5-8, Jerry Blevins 1-2, Brad Ziegler 2-0
Batters Faced - Vin Mazzaro 27, Jerry Blevins 4, Brad Ziegler 3
Cleveland Indians
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Michael Brantley, CF4011001 .214
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS4010010 .277
Shin-Soo Choo, RF3000002 .294
Travis Hafner, DH4010011 .267
    Jason Donald, PR-DH0000000 .254
Jayson Nix, 3B3010000 .243
    Andy Marte, 3B1000000 .217
Trevor Crowe, LF3110112 .248
Matt LaPorta, 1B4112012 .235
Luis Valbuena, 2B3010010 .162
Lou Marson, C1100200 .188
Totals3037335  
Batting
2B - Jayson Nix (9, Mazzaro)
HR - Matt LaPorta (8, Mazzaro)
RBI - Michael Brantley (15), Matt LaPorta 2 (31)
2-OUT RBI - Michael Brantley (6), Matt LaPorta 2 (16)
SB - Lou Marson (6, 2nd base off Mazzaro/Suzuki)
Team LOB - 7
Cleveland Indians
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Justin Masterson (W,5-12) 6522230 5.23
Rafael Perez (H,8) 1000010 3.10
Joe Smith (H,13) 0.1000200 4.34
Chris Perez (S,16) 1.2100040 2.10
HBP - Ellis (by Justin Masterson), Cust (by Justin Masterson)
Pitches-Strikes - Justin Masterson 91-56, Rafael Perez 10-7, Joe Smith 17-9, Chris Perez 26-18
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Masterson 3-11, Chris Perez 1-0
Batters Faced - Justin Masterson 26, Rafael Perez 3, Joe Smith 3, Chris Perez 6
Game Information
Attendance - 11826
Game Time - 2:39
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Bill Hohn, First Base - Gary Darling, Second Base - Bruce Dreckman, Third Base - Paul Emmel