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Kazmir falters as Tribe drops rubber match 7-3 in Oakland

Indians lose ground in division and wild card race with loss to A's

Kazmir falters as Tribe drops rubber match 7-3 in Oakland
August 18, 2013
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OAKLAND, CA - Chris Young and Alberto Callaspo each hit solo home runs off Cleveland starter Scott Kazmir in the fifth as the Oakland A's beat the Indians 7-3 Sunday in the rubber match of the three-game series.

With the loss, the Indians are now 3-3 on their current road trip. Cleveland is now seven games behind the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central and 4.5 games behind in the Wild Card.

After the Indians tied the game at three in the top of the fifth with back-to-back RBI hits off Oakland starter Tommy Milone, Kazmir served up two solo shots to put the Tribe in an inescapable hole.

With one out in the inning, Young drove a ball just over the glove of Michael Brantley in left for his 11th homer of the year. After a pop out, Callaspo hit another Kazmir pitch over the wall in left, putting the A's up 5-3.

Oakland hitters squared up Kazmir (7-6, 4.39) early, picking up two runs in the first and a third run in the second. After allowing five runs in three innings of work in his previous start in Los Angeles, Kazmir struggled to locate consistently, making 102 pitches in just five innings.

Oakland opened the game with a single and a double, putting runners on second and third with no outs. Josh Donaldson grounded out to shortstop, scoring the first run of the game. Following a strikeout and a walk, Chris Young drove a Kazmir pitch to right-center, scoring Derek Norris from second and putting the A's up 2-0 early.

With two outs in the second, Kazmir allowed a double, a walk, and a Donaldson RBI-single, allowing Oakland to stretch their lead to 3-0. Over five innings of work, Kazmir allowed five earned runs on 10 hits and two walks.

In nine starts from June 21 through August 4, Kazmir posted a 4-0 record with a 1.73 ERA and 0.86 WHIP. In his last two starts, he has gone 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA and 2.38 WHIP. Following his previous start on August 9, Kazmir said he was suffering from a dead arm. Last year, he pitched 69 innings in 14 starts for the Sugar Land Skeeters in independent ball.

The A's added two more runs in the eighth when a fielding error by first baseman Nick Swisher prolonged the inning. When Norris hit a routine grounder to Asdrubal Cabrera with two outs, Swisher missed the throw at first, allowing Callaspo to score. Donaldson followed with a RBI-single, scoring Norris from second and putting the A's up 7-3.

The Indians got on the board in the second when Ryan Raburn hit a solo homer to deep center, pulling the Tribe within one run.

Cleveland tied the game in the fifth with RBI hits by Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana off Milone, but the visiting team never led. Kipnis, Santana, and Cabrera had two hits apiece. Indians hitters were just 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base.

Dan Otero (2-0, 1.42) picked up the win for the A's after pitching one and two-thirds innings of relief.

The Indians begin a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Monday evening at 10:05 p.m. Danny Salazar (1-1, 4.08) will seek his second major league win against Angels ace Jered Weaver (7-6, 3.49).

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.

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