OAKLAND, Calif. — Manager Bob Melvin shuffled the Athletics batting order and got the type of production he was looking for from the top of the lineup.
Chris Young and Alberto Callaspo, hitting in the No. 6 and 8 spots, provided a nice boost as well.
Young and Callaspo homered in the fifth inning and Oakland beat the Cleveland Indians 7-3 on Sunday.
“That’s always nice when you get contributions all over,” Melvin said. “We feel like we have just as good a chance to score down in the lineup as we do up in the lineup.”
Jed Lowrie, batting leadoff for only the third time this season, had two hits and scored twice for Oakland. Josh Donaldson drove in three runs as the A’s pulled within a half-game of AL West-leading Texas.
One day after being held to a season-low three hits in a 7-1 loss to the Indians, the A’s jumped on Cleveland starter Scott Kazmir early.
Lowrie singled and scored in the first, then doubled and scored in the second. Derek Norris added two hits and reached base four times while Donaldson had a pair of RBI singles and also drove in a run on a groundout in the first.
“That’s when we’re at our best, when we have equal parts and we can trust everybody up and down the lineup,” Lowrie said. “That’s been our key offensively. I don’t think I’m a prototypical leadoff hitter but I get on base a lot.”
Young hit his 11th home run off Kazmir (7-6) to break a 3-all tie in the fifth. Three pitches later, Callaspo followed with his sixth homer and first since being acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in late July.
Ryan Raburn homered for Cleveland, which has lost six of its past seven in Oakland. The Indians dropped seven games behind Detroit in the Central and fell 4½ games behind the A’s in the AL wild card race.
“It’s go time,” said second baseman Jason Kipnis, who had two of Cleveland’s nine hits. “We don’t have time to sit around and fell sorry for ourselves about losing two of three here. It’s time to take care of business.”
Dan Otero (2-0) retired five batters for the win in relief of starter Tommy Milone. Grant Balfour pitched the ninth.
Kazmir had a rough afternoon while pitching on eight days’ rest. The left-hander had been moved back after saying he had a “dead arm” after his previous start.
Kazmir gave up a pair of two-out scoring hits in the first two innings. He was hit by Josh Reddick’s liner that ricocheted off him and went into right field in the third.
Ahead 5-3, Oakland got a boost when left fielder Yoenis Cespedes threw out Nick Swisher at second base in the seventh when he tried to extend a single. Center fielder Young made a stellar play to rob Michael Brantley of extra bases in the eighth.
Raburn homered in the second, hitting a towering solo shot that bounced high off the wall beyond the center field fence.
Called up from Triple-A Sacramento before the game, Milone ran into trouble in the third following Callaspo’s throwing error at third base.
Callaspo made up for the gaffe when he followed Young’s solo home run in the fifth with his blast to left.
“You think of him as a slap hitter but every now and then he’ll square it up and throw it out of the yard from both sides of the plate,” Young said of Callaspo. “He’s a special guy to have on your team.”
NOTES: Donaldson has 42 multi-hit games, one more than any player on the A’s had in 2012. ... Kazmir had allowed only two home runs total over his previous nine starts. ... Milone struck out five and walked one. ... LHP Brett Anderson threw 49 pitches in a rehab start for Triple-A Sacramento and will make at least one appearance in the minors before rejoining the A’s. Oakland is also considering putting Anderson into the rotation after originally planning to use him out of the bullpen. ... As they announced they would do, the A’s put RHP Bartolo Colon on the disabled list.