CLEVELAND -- It wasn’t too long ago that the A’s were one of the worst road teams in baseball. After getting swept over two games in Seattle last week, they had racked up a Majors-leading 15 losses away from home. It was a deep hole they dug themselves into, but
CLEVELAND -- It wasn’t too long ago that the A’s were one of the worst road teams in baseball. After getting swept over two games in Seattle last week, they had racked up a Majors-leading 15 losses away from home. It was a deep hole they dug themselves into, but they’re starting to climb out.
The A’s pushed their winning streak to four games, all of which have come on the road, with Monday night’s 6-4 win over the Indians at Progressive Field.
“We had been maybe not playing the baseball we were capable of playing on the road, so to be able to put that behind us and play well on the road feels like we’re heading in the right direction,” A’s third baseman Matt Chapman said. “We’re getting big hits from guys and everybody is pitching in.”
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When the A’s are at their best, it’s when they’re crushing balls out of the yard at a high rate. That’s been the case over the past week. They added three more on Monday to make it 12 in their past five games. Jurickson Profar and Matt Olson hit the first two off Indians starter Carlos Carrasco, but the most clutch one came from Chapman in the ninth.
A drama-filled eighth inning saw the Indians cut the lead to one, requiring closer Blake Treinen to play fireman. After entering with the bases loaded and two outs, Treinen preserved the lead by getting Carlos Gonzalez to ground out. Chapman then provided breathing room by crushing his two-run homer off Tyler Clippard.
The home run was Chapman’s 11th of the season, and turned out to be important insurance for Treinen after he surrendered a solo homer to Francisco Lindor in the bottom half before finishing off the game for his eighth save of the year.
“That’s a team that’s not going to quit and we needed every run we [could] get,” Chapman said. “Fortunately, I was able to get [us] some insurance runs. Those are huge, especially with Lindor and the top of the lineup coming up.”
Making the homer even more impressive was that it came on a cold night, with a temperature of 56 degrees at first pitch and the wind increasingly blowing in as the night went on.
Chapman also singled home a run in the seventh, for a two-hit, three-RBI night. Entering the night 3-for-23 over his past six games, Chapman worked closely with hitting coach Darren Bush pregame to make some adjustments at the plate. It was minor, involving repositioning his hands further back in his stance, but it paid immediate dividends.
“That’s what you have to do over the course of the season, make little adjustments,” Chapman said. “I think I was just rushing myself a little bit and that caused me to pull off some balls. Just tried to simplify things.”
Anderson departs early
A’s starter Brett Anderson was cruising through four innings before appearing to tweak something in his neck after avoiding a broken bat from Roberto Perez in the fifth. The left-hander finished the inning, but was clearly bothered as he came back out for the sixth. After Jason Kipnis doubled, Anderson got Carlos Santana to fly out, and the training staff came to the mound. Anderson was pulled with what the A’s said was a cervical strain.
“He’s all right,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “When the bat broke and went back he kind of snapped his neck a little bit. We’ll see how he is tomorrow.
“Up until that point it was really good. You can tell early in a game with him when he gets the ball on the mound and is throwing strikes on the corners. He can be a tough guy to deal with.”
It was tough luck for Anderson, who had been making quick work of Cleveland hitters to that point, retiring 10 batters in a row after Carlos Santana singled in the first. He completed 5 1/3 innings and allowed only one run on five hits.
Anderson said after the game his neck was “a little sore, a little stiff. But it should be fine going forward. It was kind of a fluky thing. One of those things where you get out of it before it gets too bad.”
Anderson continued a positive trend for the A’s rotation over the past week, becoming the fifth starter in the past five games (including Sunday's suspended game) to allow three runs or fewer.
“Anytime you have a good turn through the rotation, you don’t want to be the guy that ruins it,” Anderson said. “Our rotation has been getting deep into ballgames and you want to continue that trend. I went as deep as I could while riding that fine line of not hurting anything else. I expect to be sore tomorrow, but I’ll get ready for the next one.”
Making Carrasco work
Carrasco had been a tough pitcher to crack as he entered the day without allowing a run over his last 12 innings pitched. The A’s got to him early with three runs in the first four innings, and built his pitch count up to 100 as he was chased after five innings, handing him his first loss at Progressive Field since Sept. 2, 2018.
“He’s been tough on us,” Melvin said of Carrasco, who held a 2.89 ERA over seven previous outings against Oakland. “You look at his last couple of games, that’s the wrong time to catch him. Typical with any starting pitcher, if you can get him on the run early on, which we did, you can get him out of the game. That was key.”
Martin Gallegos covers the A's for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MartinJGallegos.