A’s pound Indians, 10-0
OAKLAND – Justin Duchscherer wasn’t as crisp as he has been with some of his pitches. It didn’t matter as his Oakland teammates turned five double plays in the field.
Duchscherer and two Oakland relievers combined on a five-hitter, and Kurt Suzuki homered for the second consecutive day as the A’s beat the Cleveland Indians 10-0 on Friday night.
“That’s comforting for a pitcher when you know you can put the ball in play and the defense can play like that behind you,” Duchscherer said. “You never expect double plays. What you do expect is if the ball’s hit to (the defense) they’re going to make plays. They consistently show that.”
Duchscherer (2-0) battled command problems most of the night and walked a season-high four batters but earned his second win in his last three starts thanks to Oakland’s defense which repeatedly bailed him out. The five double plays were the most by the A’s since June 5, 2007 and one shy of the franchise record.
Duchscherer walked at least one batter in each of the first four innings but the A’s turned four double plays behind him to shut down each threat. Duchscherer helped himself, too, when he picked off Shin-Soo Choo at first base in the sixth.
“It’s something you don’t expect, five double plays in one game,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said. “(Duchscherer) uncharacteristically walked some guys but he also had such good command with his cutter and breaking ball that when he gets in trouble he can make a pitch to get out of the inning, which he did, a bunch of times.”
Tyson Ross pitched two hitless innings and Brad Kilby worked the ninth to complete the five-hitter for Oakland and kept the Indians from breaking out of their early-season scoring slump.
Cleveland, which went into the game having scored the second-fewest runs in the AL, stranded four runners against Oakland and was shutout for the second time in three games and third time overall this season
“We’ve been struggling offensively, so whether we’re being shut out or we lost 3-1, it’s still a loss,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “That’s what we care about here. We know we’re struggling offensively.”
Kevin Kouzmanoff drove in two runs to snap out of a long batting slump with runners in scoring position to help Oakland win its second straight after a season-high three-game losing streak. At 11-7, the A’s have their best record after 18 games since going 12-6 in 1992.
Suzuki, whose three-run home run off Yankees ace CC Sabathia keyed Oakland’s 4-2 win over New York on Thursday, hit a two-run shot off Cleveland’s Jake Westbrook in the sixth inning. Suzuki also had two singles and now has four home runs in 18 games after having 15 all of 2009.
“I know I’m not a guy that’s going to go out there and just mash homers all over the place,” Suzuki said. “I’m more of a contact kind of guy and hit the gaps and occasionally run into one like I did tonight. I’m still learning how to hit, learning my swing.”
Westbrook (0-2) pitched well early and was backed by a pair of double plays from Cleveland’s defense but took the loss after running into trouble in the sixth. The right-hander, who was limited to three minor league starts last season after undergoing reconstructive right elbow surgery in June 2008, gave up eight hits and four runs.
Cleveland also committed three errors after having only seven in its first 15 games.
The A’s scored their first run off Westbrook in the fourth. Daric Barton walked leading off and took third on Suzuki’s hit-and-run single, then Kouzmanoff followed with a two-out, RBI-single to center. The hit snapped the veteran third baseman out of a 1-for-17 slump with runners in scoring position.
Barton doubled and scored again in the sixth on Ryan Sweeney’s single, then Suzuki followed with his second home run in as many games, a two-run blast to left-center that made it 4-0.
Oakland batted around and scored six runs off Cleveland reliever Jamey Wright in the eighth. Rajai Davis delivered the biggest blow with a two-out, bases-loaded double that drove in three runs.
NOTES: Westbrook hasn’t won since April 8, 2008. … Cleveland’s Asdrubal Cabrera led off the game with a single and has hit safely in each of his last eight games. … Chavez is tied with Sal Bando for fourth place on Oakland’s career scoring list. … The A’s recalled Kilby from Triple-A Sacramento before the game and optioned C Landon Powell to the minors. … Oakland has won six straight against the Indians.
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