Gray rocked by Indians, A's hitters tie franchise record for strikeouts in game

Gray rocked by Indians, A's hitters tie franchise record for strikeouts in game


CLEVELAND -- Once Trevor Bauer got on a roll, he put on quite a show for the Cleveland Indians.

Bauer struck out an AL-best 14 in seven innings, and the Indians beat the Oakland Athletics 9-4 on Tuesday night.

"I like my strikeouts," he said. "Half the balls they put in play were hits so I decided after the fourth I just wasn't going to let them hit the ball anymore."

Bauer's career-best strikeout total was one shy of this season's major league-high of 15 by Washington's Stephen Strasburg against San Diego on Saturday.

Bauer (5-4) recorded his eighth career game of 10 or more strikeouts. He struck out the side in the first, fifth, sixth and seventh innings. As the total increased, the excitement at Progressive Field grew.

"Anytime the crowd is energized it's a lot more fun to play, whether it's a home run, strikeouts or a great defensive play, whatever the case may be," said Bauer, who allowed three runs and seven hits with one walk.

Oakland third baseman Trevor Plouffe struck out twice against Bauer and whiffed four times in the game.

"When he gets in a groove, you saw how it played out," he said. "Any time a guy like that is attacking the strike zone against an aggressive team, it's bound to be that way."

Four Cleveland pitchers combined to strike out 19, tying a franchise record for a nine-inning game.

"I wanted the 20th strikeout of the night, but it was fun," Indians catcher Roberto Perez said with a laugh.

Rookie Bradley Zimmer had a career-high four RBIs for the Indians, hitting a two-run double in the fourth and a two-run homer in the eighth. Michael Brantley had an RBI single and threw a runner out at the plate in the fourth.

Cleveland (27-23) also got a leadoff drive in the fifth from Jason Kipnis. It has homered in 15 consecutive games.

Sonny Gray (2-2) allowed seven runs in 4 2/3 innings for Oakland (22-29), which dropped a season-high seven games below .500. The right-hander breezed through three innings before the Indians scored seven times in the fourth and fifth.

Matt Joyce drove in two runs and Ryon Healy also had an RBI single for Oakland.

Francisco Lindor drew a leadoff walk in the Cleveland fourth and Carlos Santana reached on a bunt hit. Edwin Encarnacion singled to left and Jose Ramirez doubled to right, cutting the lead to 3-2.

Zimmer then lined a double to right to put Cleveland ahead. Zimmer, the Indians' No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft, was called up from Triple-A Columbus on May 16.

Joyce had an RBI single in the first. Oakland scored twice in the fourth, but Brantley's throw changed the game's momentum. Healy's double and Joyce's sacrifice fly made it 3-0.

Adam Rosales' hard-hit grounder skipped past Lindor at shortstop, but Brantley's throw from left field got Healy at the plate.

Zimmer was 2 for 4 and raised his batting average to .281. He has hit safely in eight of his 13 games since being called up.

"It's fun to watch," manager Terry Francona said. "He's exciting once he gets going on the bases. He's given us a real lift."

Gray's night fell apart in the fourth and fifth when he faced a total of 14 batters.

"The quicker I can put this game behind me, the better I'll be," he said. "I wasn't able to put guys away. I was definitely off in my location."

Athletics: LHP Sean Doolittle (strained left shoulder) threw 19 pitches in an extended spring training game, striking out four of the six hitters he faced. He has been on the disabled list since April 30.

Athletics: LHP Sean Manaea has won two straight starts, beating the Red Sox and Yankees while posting a 1.50 ERA with 11 strikeouts over 12 innings.

Indians: RHP Mike Clevinger has a 0-1 record with a 6.52 ERA in three appearances (one start) at Progressive Field this season.

Now officially in the fold, Lucroy ready to work with young A's pitchers


Now officially in the fold, Lucroy ready to work with young A's pitchers

The Oakland A's made it official: They finally got their man behind the plate. 

Oakland officially announced the signing of veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy on Monday. Lucroy's deal is reportedly worth $6.5 million, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser.

Lucroy joined his new teammates for the first time in Arizona on Monday, and told reporters that he is especially excited to work with the club's young, promising pitching staff. The three returning leaders in innings pitched (Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea, Jharel Cotton) are all 27-years-old or younger, and 22-year-old top prospect A.J. Puk is pushing for a rotation spot after allowing just one run in three appearances this spring. 

"I'm looking forward to working with these guys and trying to help them get better and get better myself along the way," Lucroy told reporters. "I think that's what it's all about; taking what they do best and try to simplify their approach ... Really, just doing anything I can with them to get hitters out."

Manager Bob Melvin told reporters that he thinks Lucroy's experience will prove beneficial to his young staff.

"If we can't go out and get ourselves a [starting pitcher], that's the next best thing," Melvin told reporters on Monday. "So, he's got a lot of experience, and a great reputation for being a teriffic leader behind the plate."

Lucroy, 31, slashed .265/.345/.371 in 481 plate appearances with the Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies last season, hitting six home runs with 40 RBI, his lowest marks in those categories since his rookie season in 2010.

In order to accomodate Lucroy's signing the, the A's designated left-handed pitcher Jairo Labourt for assignment. Labourt was acquired off of waivers on Mar. 4, and Labourt's arrival prompted the eventual release of Brandon Moss one month into his Oakland reunion.

Maxwell speaks about anthem protest, but stays mum on legal issues


Maxwell speaks about anthem protest, but stays mum on legal issues

When A's catcher Bruce Maxwell knelt during the anthem last season, he was the first MLB player to do so. He knelt before each of each of Oakland's final nine games, in order to protest racial inequality and in response to President Trump's incendiary comments about NFL players kneeling, but ended the season as the only MLB player to kneel during the anthem. 

This season, he won't kneel at all, he told reporters in a statement on the first day of spring training. 

“Obviously, I didn’t take that lightly,” Maxwell told the San Francisco Chronicle prior to the release of his statement.  “That was to bring awareness to a problem and the face we do see it, we do experience and we have empathy for what’s going on. This year I don’t plan on kneeling. … And we’ll move on forward.”

While Maxwell did address his protest during the anthem, he largely did not address his offseason legal issues.

“It’s ongoing, I can’t really discuss details,” he said. “It’s something me and my lawyers are handling.”

On Oct. 28, Maxwell was arrested in Scottsdale after allegedly pointing a gun at a food-delivery person. He pleaded not guilty to felony charges of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct in November, and is set for a settlement conference on April 13 after failing to reach a plea agreement on Monday, according to the Chronicle. 

If an agreement cannot be reached, Maxwell's trial is set to begin on Aug. 9.