OAKLAND, CALIF: Bay area fans seeking the rush of an offensive explosion could have gone to a Little League game or their neighborhood high school. No such outbreak of runs was about to happen at Oakland Coliseum.
But if it was pitching they liked, the Indians and Athletics gave it to them, them being the 13,872 who paid their way into the contest on $2 Wednesday. Josh Tomlin and Athletics starter Trevor Cahill saw to that.
The A’s came away with a 3-1 decision to stop the Tribe’s seven-game winning streak. And the bad news for the Indians is that they face a guy with a 1.56 ERA this afternoon, Brett Andeson.
‘‘It was a well-pitched ballgame by both sides," manager Manny Acta said. ‘‘Tomlin was fantastic. He threw an unbelievable amount of strikes. He had a very good cutter, and he was master of the low and away pitch.
‘‘He deserved better, but Cahill pitched very well. He had us beating the ball into the ground all night. That’s what he does when he’s on his game. He had a very good sinker and got 13 ground ball outs, so he was tough."
Tomlin (4-1, 2.43 ERA) was retiring batters so quickly that Oakland’s on-deck hitters barely had time to slather pine tar on their bats.
But he made two mistakes, both to David DeJesus, who homered with one out and nobody on in the first then led off with a home run in the fourth.
"It is frustrating," Tomlin said. "But if I lock in better against DeJesus, it woul have been different."
DeJesus hit fastballs both times, but in different locations.
"The first one, I was trying to go in, but I didn’t get it in far enough," Tomlin said. "The second one was supposed to be down and away, but it came back over the middle."
The third time Tomlin faced DeJesus, he struck him out.
"I didn’t throw him a fastball," Tomlin said.
How odd was Tomlin’s outing? Not only is DeJesus not the reincarnation of Babe Ruth - his home runs off Tomlin were his first of the season - Tomlin allowed only one more hit, and that wouldn’t have happened if an error hadn’t prolonged the eighth inning.
This isn’t the first time Tomlin has pitched well and been on the wrong end of the score, especially in the minor leagues.
"I’ve lost 1-0, 2-1, 3-1," he said. "I’ve done that lots of times. I’ve also lost by seven, so it evens out."
With one out in the eighth, Mark Ellis slapped a bouncer to third, but Jack Hannahan muffed it for an error. After Tomlin struck out Andy LaRoche, Cliff Pennington lined a single to center, putting runners on first and third.
Tomlin was relieved of his duties, Tony Sipp taking over. On his first pitch, Coco Crisp singled through the middle to score Ellis with an unearned run.
Acta played the percentages precisely right, but Crisp pulled an upset. Not only is the left-handed Sipp Acta’s normal eighth-inning guy, but Crisp, a switch hitter, was batting .329 from the left side and only .148 from the right side.
Tomlin gave up all three runs (two earned) and didn’t walk a batter. He also lost for the first time this year after four victories.
Cahill (5-0, 1.79 ERA) came into the game with a 4-0 record and 1.88 ERA, and he lived up to each of those glossy numbers by giving up one run and five hits in seven innings. The Tribe made him throw strikes - which he usually did - and forced his pitch count up, as he delivered 116 pitches.
But only one of his three walks hurt him, and that only marginally. Nor could the Indians take advantage of two wild pitches.
The only time Cahill weakened was in the third inning, which began with Grady Sizemore’s double off the center field wall, the hardest ball hit on Cahill’s watch.
But after Asdrubal Cabrera flied out and Shin-Soo Choo struck out, it looked like Sizemore’s hit would be wasted. However, Carlos Santana coaxed a walk out of Cahill, which enabled Travis Hafner to come to the plate.
Hafner didn’t exactly hammer the ball, but his shallow fly fell to earth in center for a single that scored Sizemore and sent Santana to third. Orlando Cabrera was unable to keep the rally going, bouncing into a force play.
"We had good at-bats against Cahill, but we couldn’t get the big hit with runners in scoring position," Acta said.
Beginning with the last out of the third, Cahill retired 13-of-15 batters before calling it a night. Of the five hits he allowed, two i Hafner’s bloop and a mis-hit infield roller i were accidents.