Indians pitchers stymie Athletics’ potent offense

McAllister, 2 relievers combine on shutout

Indians starting pitcher Zach McAllister threw 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball to beat the Athletics.
Indians starting pitcher Zach McAllister threw 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball to beat the Athletics.

CLEVELAND — Zach McAllister and two relievers combined on a shutout and the Cleveland Indians scored an unearned run in the fifth inning for their eighth win in nine games, 1-0 over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.

McAllister, Rich Hill, and Chris Perez limited the highest-scoring offense in the majors to six hits and did not allow a runner to reach second base.

McAllister (3-3) struck out four and walked one in 7 2/3 innings. The right-hander was pulled after John Jaso’s two-out single in the eighth. Hill then retired pinch-hitter Luke Montz to end the inning, and Perez pitched the ninth for his fourth save.

Tommy Milone (3-4), who lost a career-worst fourth straight start, was done in by shoddy defense and no run support. The Indians managed only five hits, but errors by first baseman Brandon Moss and second baseman Eric Sogard on the same play in the fifth led to the only run, which scored on Yan Gomes’ sacrifice fly.

The Athletics have scored a total of five runs during Milone’s losing streak after putting up 28 in his first three outings. The left-hander struck out five and walked none in seven innings.

Yoenis Cespedes singled with one out in the ninth, but was thrown out trying to steal second by Gomes. Moss struck out on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.

The unusual fifth inning started when Carlos Santana’s ground ball glanced off Moss’ glove and rolled to Sogard, whose throw to Milone covering first was wild. The ball skipped past Oakland’s dugout and rolled behind home plate. Santana ended up at second and Moss and Sogard were charged with errors.

Santana moved to third on Mike Aviles’ single and scored on Gomes’ sacrifice fly to deep center.

The inning took another strange turn when Aviles broke for second and was caught off first by Milone’s throw. Sogard appeared to tag Aviles, but second base umpire Paul Nauert ruled the runner was safe. Aviles was credited with a stolen base.

Oakland manager Bob Melvin angrily argued the call with Nauert and gave a disgusted wave to first base umpire John Tumpane on his way off the field, but he wasn’t ejected.

McAllister retired the first seven hitters before Sogard beat out an infield hit. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera circled to the ball but his long throw pulled Santana off the bag at first.

Milone sent down the first six hitters before Ryan Raburn doubled to lead off the third. Raburn took third on a groundout, but was stranded when Gomes grounded out and Drew Stubbs struck out.

Jason Kipnis started the fourth with a double, but his bid to steal third went awry when he broke too early from second. Instead of throwing to the plate, Milone threw to third baseman Josh Donaldson, who tagged Kipnis. Nick Swisher singled with two outs, but Mark Reynolds hit into a fielder’s choice.

McAllister threw a 1-1 pitch at Donaldson’s feet with two outs and nobody on in the second. Donaldson glared at McAllister over the pitch, which could have been a response to Reynolds being hit by Jarrod Parker following two Indians home runs on Monday.

NOTES: OF Michael Bourn (lacerated right index finger) played his first rehab game at Triple-A Columbus, going 1 for 3 with a walk, two strikeouts, and a stolen base. ... OF Michael Brantley, who started 28 of the first 29 games, wasn’t in the lineup against Milone. Drew Stubbs batted leadoff for the third time this season and Mike Aviles started in left field. ... Indians manager Terry Francona said a scan of RHP Vinnie Pestano’s sore elbow came back clean. Pestano was placed on the disabled list Monday, retroactive to May 1. ... OF Ezequiel Carrera, designated for assignment Sunday, cleared waivers and was sent outright to Columbus.