The A’s were overdue for this one.
They snapped a four-game losing streak on their current road trip with Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians, and it was the rare occasion of late where they grabbed an early lead and made it stand.
Chad Pinder, drawing the start at shortstop, enjoyed the first two-homer game of his career, and Sean Manaea delivered seven strong innings on the mound as the A’s picked up their second win on a seven-game road trip that ends with Thursday’s matinee at Progressive Field.
Here’s five things you need to know from this one …
Pinder continues to state his case for regular playing time: There’s no one position where Pinder can settle in at right now. That’s been established. But it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the A’s need to find more regular time for this guy. And until Marcus Semien returns from a fractured wrist, that spot probably should be shortstop. Pinder has plenty of background playing shortstop and he’s shown a strong arm. Right now, he’s more of an answer offensively than Adam Rosales.
Manaea stepped up when the A’s badly needed him to: Daniel Mengden and Sonny Gray turned in subpar starting efforts in the first two games of this four-game series. Manaea took the mound Wednesday and was terrific, throwing seven innings of three-hit ball, striking out nine and walking just one. He’s been the winning pitcher in each of the A’s victories on this trip.
Every game Yonder Alonso plays is a chance to strengthen his All-Star case: The early news Wednesday was that Alonso sits second in American League All-Star voting at first base, behind only Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera. From this point moving forward, it’s a chance for Alonso to continue to bolster his case, both in the fan voting and in the eyes of his fellow players who cast votes for reserves.
Indians SS Francisco Lindor shows — again — that he’s one of the game’s brightest young stars: Lindor did the only damage off Manaea, reaching out and popping a breaking ball over the wall in left for a fourth-inning homer. He also made a terrific diving play in the ninth to retire Alonso.
The bullpen brought this one home: After Manaea left the game, Ryan Madson delivered a scoreless eighth with one strikeout. Then closer Santiago Casilla worked around a dropped fly ball from left fielder Khris Davis and nailed down his eighth save.