Gonzalez pitches Athletics past Indians
CLEVELAND – Ryan Sweeney thwarted the Cleveland Indians’ best chance to score – by throwing out Mike Redmond at first base after he hit what appeared to be a single to right field.
The rare play helped preserve the Oakland Athletics’ 3-0 victory over Cleveland on Friday night.
“That was a crazy play,” Sweeney said. “That is something you do in Little League. That is the first time I have done it (in the majors). We know Redmond hits to the opposite field a lot.”
With two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth inning, Redmond hit a line drive to right field that dropped in. Sweeney, the right fielder, was playing shallow. He charged the ball and quickly made the throw to first baseman Daric Barton, wiping out the run and ending the inning. The play was scored a groundout to the right fielder.
Sweeney and A’s manager Bob Geren credited Oakland first-base coach Todd Steverson for positioning Sweeney in shallow right field.
“Where he was positioned and that type of line drive is really the only way that play can happen in this level of play,” Geren said.
The 38-year-old Redmond said opposing teams have been playing him that way most of his career and he was almost thrown out at first while playing for Minnesota in a game at Oakland a few years ago.
“I hit it right to him,” Redmond said. “I knew I was in trouble. The only thing that bothers me is the fact there are probably people out there who think I didn’t hustle,” Redmond said. “I was running hard out of the box. I’m slow.”
Indians manager Manny Acta said: “You don’t see that very often in the game, but unfortunately you saw it today. There’s nothing he can do.”
The Indians may have received more bad news when right fielder Shin-Soo Choo left the game after injuring his right hand while attempting to make a diving catch of Jack Cust’s double in the eighth. Acta said more information on the extent of the injury would be known Saturday.
Sweeney’s play and the strong pitching by Gio Gonzalez helps Oakland win for the sixth time in seven games. Gonzalez (7-5) pitched five-hit ball for 6 2-3 innings and Mark Ellis drove in two runs with a bases-loaded double in the sixth.
Gonzalez won for the first time since June 6. He walked four and struck out five. The left-hander has beaten Cleveland twice this season, holding the Indians scoreless for 13 2-3 innings. He’s 3-0 in four starts against Cleveland since 2009.
“I was just trying to keep my team in the game,” Gonzalez said. “They had won, what five or six games in a row. You have to give respect to a team like that. They have a good hitting team and it is just one of those breaks.”
“Gonzalez was the story,” Acta said. “He was very tough on us.”
Andrew Bailey pitched the ninth for his 16th save in 19 opportunities.
Mitch Talbot (8-7) allowed three runs – two earned – and five hits in 5 1-3 innings.
The A’s scored in the first when Cust walked with the bases loaded and took a 1-0 lead into the sixth before Ellis delivered.
Barton, who wasn’t in the original lineup, had two hits. He left Thursday’s game with bruises on both legs sustained trying to break up a double play. Barton was added to the lineup a few minutes before game time.
NOTES: Bailey’s save came in his 100th major league appearance. … LHP Dallas Braden was scratched from Saturday night’s start because of a sore elbow. RHP Clayton Mortensen will be called up from Triple-A Sacramento to make the start. … OF Conor Jackson missed his second straight start because of a sore hamstring. … Acta used Carlos Santana at DH and started Redmond behind the plate. Santana, who entered the game batting .333, was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.
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