OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Cleveland Indians liked their chances when they got Oakland starter A.J. Griffin out of the game after five innings and 104 pitches only down a run.
Producing against a deep, talented bullpen proved much more difficult.
A night of missed opportunities throughout the lineup cost Cleveland in a 3-2 loss to the Athletics on Friday night, the first win by Oakland in five chances facing the Indians this season.
"We couldn't catch a break," losing pitcher Justin Masterson said. "We were getting some good at-bats. We got guys on, we weren't able to get that extra one."
Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run homer against Masterson in the first, and Eric Sogard delivered a go-ahead double with two out in the seventh.
Former A's fan favorite Nick Swisher tied the game at 2 in the top of the seventh with an RBI single, and winner Sean Doolittle (4-4) walked the bases loaded before getting out of it with only the one run. Swisher, booed at every chance, grounded out with runners on first and second to end the eighth.
Cleveland still had chances in the ninth.
Grant Balfour allowed a one-out walk to Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley's single before Asdrubal Cabrera lined into a game-ending double play as the A's held on and Balfour earned his 31st save.
Masterson (13-9), Cleveland's All-Star right-hander, lost consecutive decisions for just the second time this season. He allowed three runs on seven hits in 7 2-3 innings after coming off his shortest outing of the year, 4 1-3 innings in which he allowed five runs and seven hits against the Angels.
He is still looking for his first victory in the Oakland Coliseum. He dropped to 0-5 with a 7.71 ERA in six appearances and five starts.
He outpitched Griffin, who escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth but his pitch count climbed in a hurry.
"That many pitches in five innings and you're feeling good about yourself," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "But when you get to the bullpen, this is one of the few teams who can run some pretty good guys out there."
The A's held on in their home ballpark after being swept in a four-game series in Cleveland from May 6-9, being outscored 21-8. In the third game of the series, Adam Rosales was denied a ninth-inning home run and given a double by the umpires in a 4-3 A's loss — even after going to replay. Major League Baseball the next day said the umpires made an "improper call," but executive vice president Joe Torre said the "judgment" decision is final.
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