A’s Kendall Graveman Suffers First Loss Since May 19
CLEVELAND -- It had been more than two months since Kendall Graveman lost a game, and for six innings it looked like it might be even a little longer.
But then the roof caved in.
Graveman and the A’s were unable to protect an early lead, losing 5-3 to the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
Graveman, who was 6-0 since his last loss, took a 3-0 lead into the sixth inning, and a 3-1 lead into the seventh. But a Carlos Santana solo home run in the sixth inning and four more Cleveland runs in the seventh resulted in Graveman losing for the first time since May 19.
“He was cruising,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin.
In the seventh inning, the cruising stopped and losing commenced. An error by A’s shortstop Marcus Semien opened the door, Graveman (7-7) gave up consecutive singles, and the A’s bullpen couldn’t stop the bleeding.
“I’ve got to find a way to continue to get outs in that inning,” Graveman said. “Locate my pitches better and get us out of that inning with either a tie or the lead.” The A’s got neither.
With two on and two outs in the ninth, Josh Reddick launched a towering drive that was caught by center fielder Tyler Naquin with his back pressed against the wall for the final out of the game.
“I thought it had a chance,” Melvin said. “From the trajectory and the sound of it off the bat I thought it had a chance to go out.”
An RBI single by Billy Butler in the fourth inning and home runs on consecutive pitches from Trevor Bauer by Reddick and Khris Davis leading off the sixth inning gave the A’s their 3-0 lead.
The A’s will recall left-hander Dillon Overton from Triple-A Nashville to start Saturday’s game. Overton was 1-1 with an 8.40 ERA in three starts for the A’s earlier this season. He’s had a strong year at Nashville, where in 16 starts and 17 appearances overall he is 10-4 with a 3.21 ERA. Overton was a second-round pick by the A’s in the June 2013 draft.
Friday was the first meeting of the season between the A’s and Indians, and thus the first chance for the A’s to see former teammate Dan Otero. After spending the past three years with Oakland, Otero is now a member of the Indians’ bullpen. He has been one of the Cleveland’s better relievers, with a record of 2-1 and a 1.33 ERA in 37 appearances. Melvin said he spoke briefly with Otero.
“I wished him the best. He’s having a good year. Hopefully, he won’t pitch in this series,” said Melvin, who didn’t get his wish. Otero pitched to two batters in the sixth and retired them both.
Butler has just a .221 average vs. right-handers, but he was in the lineup Friday against Indians right-hander Bauer. Butler has hit Bauer well in the past and continued to, going 2 for 2, to raise his career average vs. Bauer to .462 (6 for 13).