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.

What Matt Olson injury means for A's offense, defense at first base


What Matt Olson injury means for A's offense, defense at first base

The A's fears became a reality Friday when Gold Glove first baseman Matt Olson had to undergo surgery on his right hand.

No timetable has been provided for Olson's return, but a 2018 article in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine which studied similar procedures suggests he will likely miss three to seven weeks.

This is obviously a huge loss for Oakland. Beyond Olson's terrific defense, the 24-year-old provided tremendous power in the middle of the lineup.

Last season, Olson slashed .247/.335/.453 with 29 home runs and 84 RBI. That production won't be easy to replace, but the A's do have some reasonable options.

Platoon players Mark Canha and Chad Pinder can both play first base, and carry plenty of power in their bats. Canha clubbed 17 home runs and 22 doubles last year in just 365 at-bats. Pinder, meanwhile, hit 28 homers in 580 at-bats over the last two seasons.

Another option for the A's is to move Jurickson Profar to first base -- where he played 24 games last year -- and start Franklin Barreto at second. Barreto is coming off a terrific spring, hitting .375 (12-for-32) with a home run, four doubles, three RBI, five walks, and eight runs scored.

Barreto now has a great chance to make the 25-man roster in Olson's place. The 23-year-old has long been considered one of the A's top prospects, but has never had a chance to get consistent playing time in the big leagues. Oakland moved him from second base to the outfield this spring, but now a return to second makes sense.

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The A's are fortunate to have enough offensive depth to survive the loss of Olson, but the biggest impact will likely show up on defense. Olson's height and scooping ability at first base will be incredibly hard to replace.

Nonetheless, Oakland showed the ability to overcome injury adversity last season. The A's just have to do it again this year.

A's first baseman Matt Olson undergoes surgery on his right hand


A's first baseman Matt Olson undergoes surgery on his right hand

The A's announced on Friday that 2018 Gold Glove first baseman Matt Olson underwent successful right hamate excision surgery on his right hand. The surgery was performed in Los Angeles by Dr. Steven Shin:

Olson left Thursday's game against the Mariners in Japan due to some discomfort in his right hand as he was having some trouble gripping his bat. 

While we are unsure how long Olson will be out, this article in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine states similar injuries could sideline players from three to seven weeks with the median time ranging around five weeks.

For now, the A's do have Mark Canha who can play first base. Jurickson Profar is always an option as well since he can play anywhere. But he covers so much range in the middle of the infield, picturing him anywhere else but second base seems strange.

We knew this was looking like bad news when it happened, but now that we know for sure, the A's need to figure out a more direct plan knowing the team is without their first baseman and a very powerful bat to start out the season.