Indians fail to capitalize on walks, drop series opener 3-2
After Masterson induced two quick ground outs to begin the seventh, Stepehen Voght singled to right to act as the go-ahead run. Sogard followed with a double into the right-field corner, scoring Voght from first. Sogard was thrown out trying to advance to third, ending the inning.
With the loss, the Indians failed to pick up any ground in the American League Central or Wild Card. The Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles both lost their Friday games.
The A's got on the board in the first when center fielder Yoenis Cespedes blasted a hanging slider for a two-run homer to left center. The long ball was the 20th for Cespedes on the season, making him the first Oakland player to begin his career with back-to-back 20-homer seasons.
Masterson (13-9, 3.59) was the tough luck loser after pitching seven and two-thirds innings of quality baseball. He allowed three earned runs on seven hits and walk. He struck out four and induced 11 ground outs.
The Indians had scoring opportunities all night, but failed to get the clutch hit with two outs.
A.J. Griffin allowed base runners in four of his five innings, as he struggled with his command. After Nick Swisherreached in the top of the third, Carlos Santana singled to right, pushing Swisher to third. Swisher scored when right fielder Josh Reddick sailed a throw out of play past third, pulling the score to 2-1.
After retiring the first two hitters in the fifth, Griffin walked Swisher and then allowed a double to Jason Kipnis to put runners on second and third. After another walk to Santana loaded the bases, Griffin retired Michael Brantley on a line out to work out of the jam.
In all, Griffin allowed just one unearned run in five innings, scattering four hits and five walks along the way.
After a scoreless inning of relief by Dan Otero, Sean Doolittle came on to pitch the seventh. Drew Stubbs led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Michael Bourn. Swisher followed with a single to drive home Stubbs, tying the game at two. After two more walks loaded the bases, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a lazy fly to left to end the inning.
The Indians drew two one-out base runners in the ninth against A's closer Grant Balfour, but Cabrera lined into a game-ending double play. The save was Balfor's 31st of the season.
Cleveland hitters left 13 runners on base and were just one-for-nine with runners in scoring position, failing to convert any of Oakland's nine walks into runs. Swisher, Brantley, and Stubbs led the Indians with two hits apiece.
The Indians and A's will play game two of the series Saturday at 9:05 p.m. Ubaldo Jimenez (8-7, 4.11) will take the mound, seeking his first win since July 28, against Oakland right-hander Dan Strally (6-6, 4.19).
Notes: Asdrubal Cabrera is now hitless in his last 20 at-bats and his season average has plummeted to .231.
Nathan Kemp graduated from The University of Akron in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English. He plans to pursue a graduate degree through NEOMFA in the fall. Follow him on Twitter @NathanCKemp.