OAKLAND: And the Indians haven't even faced the A's good starters yet.
That happens beginning tonight, when Trevor Cahill (4-0, 1.88 ERA) goes against Josh Tomlin and Brett Anderson (2-1, 1.56 ERA) opposes Jeanmar Gomez in the finale Thursday afternoon.
Tuesday night, the Tribe had its hands full with Tyson Ross, who came into the game with a 1-2 record and 2.76 earned-run average.
What a break for the Indians. Right.
In the end, the Tribe took it out on Brian Fuentes, scoring threre runs in the ninth to earn a 4-1 win at Oakland Coliseum, saving a well-deserved win for Fausto Carmona.
Two relievers preceded Fuentes and kept the game in order, but the A's closer began the ninth by walking Michael Brantley, who was thrown out stealing (replays showed that shortstop Cliff Pennington missed the tag, but no matter).
Matt LaPorta and Jack Hannahan singled to put runners on first and third, and Orlando Cabrera singled up the middle to bring home the game winner. Fuentes hit Grady Sizemore with an off-speed, 72-mile-per-hour pitch to load the bases, and Asdrubal Cabrera singled to drive in two insurance runs.
As manager Manny Acta pointed out, LaPorta's hit was critical after Brantley got thrown out.
""LaPorta's hit was huge,'' Acta said. ""If he makes an out. *elip (and Acta shrugged).
But it was Orlando Cabrera, who entered the game as a pinch runner in the seventh, who drove in the run that won the game.
""He is very calm and controlled,'' Acta said. ""He doesn't let any situation get to him, and he's able to slow the game down. We've only played a month, and he's had lots of big hits for us.''
The Indians have won the last four games in their last at-bat.
""There's nothing magical about it,'' Acta said. ""We just put together some quality at-bats, and we have some guys who've been through it before.''
As usual, the Tribe didn't beat itself.
""It was a well-played ballgame,'' Acta said. ""Fausto threw the ball terrific. He was very aggressive in the strike zone. His slider and changeup kept them off balance.''
With no runs to support him until the seventh inning,Carmona (3-3, was out there on an island (literally) all by himself. Moreover, he had to watch Ross stifle his teammates inning after inning.
""It was a well-pitched ballgame by both sides,'' Acta said. ""In the end, we just put up some good at-bats.''
In the seventh, Carlos Santana hit a smash off Ross' glove for a single, and one out later, Brantley singled Santana to third. LaPorta singled to center to drive in Sanatna with the run that tied the score 1-1 and marked the end of Ross' work day.
But he pitched impressively nonetheless, giving up eight hits (three in the seventh) and no walks in 61/3 innings.
Ross, a second-round pick in the 2008 draft, made his major-league debut last year, appearing in 26 games but only two as a starter. He posted a 1-4 record and 5.49 ERA in half a season.
He hasn't been a full-time starter this season, either, having pitched in six games, three as a starter. His win came in a three-inning scoreless relief stint against the White Sox on April 11.
When the worst thing you can say about a starting pticher is that he gave up two many scratch hits, he probably had a pretty good night. Carmona allowed only five hits, and three of them were ground balls that never left the infield.
""Today, every pitch was working for me,'' Carmona said. ""I had quick innings, because I was throwing strikes.''
Carmona used only 96 pitches to get through eight innings. Sixty-four (67 percent) were stirkes.
One infield hit, was instrumental in giving Oakland the lead. Deric Barton led off the fourth inning with a single and David DeJesus slapped a high bouncer off the glove of Carmona, who probably kept it from being the first out of the inning.
Carmona retired the next two batters on grounds balls, but the second bouncer, to Jack Hannahan at third, drove in Barton from third to give the A's a 1-0 lead.
That was the only inning the A's put up much of a fight against Carmona. In fact, of the eight innings he started, the fourth was the only inning that Oakland advanced a runner as far as second.
Chris Perez retired the side in order in the ninth, striking out one, to earn his eighth save of the season.