The Athletics open a six-game homestand Friday night with the first of three against the slumping Indians.
Crisp's home run in the sixth broke a scoreless tie and came following an umpire review."It felt we were starting to grind a little harder than we should," manager Bob Melvin said. "You start digging and it doesn't feel like anything is going to happen. At the time, that was certainly the key hit of the game and it ended up being the key hit."
The Athletics (62-55) scored two runs in the previous two games of the series and have struck out at least nine times in the last six games - the longest streak in franchise history.
Part of Oakland's offensive slump can be traced to Cespedes' lack of production. His homer Thursday was his first since July 28, also the date of his most recent extra-base hit.
The Athletics lineup could have an easier time against the Indians (54-64), who have fallen 10 games below .500, matching a season high, behind a struggling pitching staff.
Cleveland has dropped 12 of its last 13 road games, with those 12 losses coming by an average of 4.9 runs.
Tommy Milone (9-9, 3.91 ERA) will try to pitch Oakland to a third straight home win after receiving some extended rest this week.
After recording a 0.91 ERA through his first eight home starts, Milone struggled in the last two. He gave up five runs in six innings of a loss to Tampa Bay on July 31, then allowed six runs in six innings of a 6-5 defeat to Toronto on Aug. 5.
That was the third straight start overall in which he surrendered at least five runs.
Looking to rest the rookie left-hander, Oakland pushed back his start, with Milone originally scheduled to have pitched last Saturday.
"It's a mental grind once you get to this time of the year," Melvin told the Athletics' official website. "Tommy's last few games haven't been his best, but it really isn't about that. We've been looking to potentially do this for a while now."
Milone faces a Cleveland team that lost the final two games of its three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels this week.
Roberto Hernandez struggled in his season debut Wednesday, allowing eight runs over six innings in an 8-4 loss. He wasn't helped by his defense, which committed three errors during a five-run second, including two by recently acquired Brent Lillibridge .
"We won the second half of the game. But you have to play nine innings, and unfortunately the second inning killed us," manager Manny Acta said. "Hernandez threw the ball a lot better than his numbers indicated. He deserved better. But we played terrible defense behind him."
The Indians won two of three in Oakland in April and has taken eight of the last 11 meetings overall.
They'll turn to Zach McAllister (5-4, 3.46) hoping the right-hander can win a second consecutive start.
McAllister gave up two runs and three hits over a career-high eight innings in a 5-2 win over Boston on Saturday. That was in stark contrast to his previous appearance when he failed to make it out of the second inning in a 14-3 loss to Minnesota.
|August 13, 2012||Josh Tomlin||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|August 13, 2012||Jason Kipnis||Day-to-Day||Stiff neck|
|August 06, 2012||Travis Hafner||Day-to-Day||Back soreness|
|August 06, 2012||Travis Hafner||15-Day DL||Lower back inflammation|
|June 30, 2012||Lonnie Chisenhall||60-Day DL||Fractured right ulna - out 4-6 weeks|
|June 29, 2012||Lonnie Chisenhall||Day-to-Day||Fractured right ulna - out 4-6 weeks|
|August 12, 2012||Brandon Inge||15-Day DL||Dislocated right shoulder|
|August 12, 2012||Brandon Inge||Day-to-Day||Dislocated right shoulder|
|August 07, 2012||Eric Sogard||15-Day DL||Strained back|
|August 05, 2012||A.J. Griffin||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|August 04, 2012||A.J. Griffin||Day-to-Day||Sore right shoulder|
|August 03, 2012||Seth Smith||15-Day DL||Left hamstring strain|
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Josh Donaldson 's third stint in the majors this season is proving to be a lot more enjoyable for the Oakland infielder than the previous two.
Called up from the minors this week after the Athletics placed third baseman Brandon Inge on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, Donaldson had three hits on Oakland's recently completed road trip and followed it up with a career game against Cleveland on Friday night.
Donaldson hit a tiebreaking single with the bases loaded in the eighth inning for his fourth hit and the A's rallied from four runs down to beat the Indians 6-4.
"The previous times I've been in the (majors) I've been so amped up I haven't allowed my abilities to really work," Donaldson said. "Ever since I've been here this time, I've gone up there with a relaxed mentality."
The two-run eighth inning capped Oakland's largest comeback this season and kicked off its six-game homestand on a positive note following a disappointing 2-4 road trip.
Chris Carter drew a leadoff walk against Cleveland reliever Joe Smith (7-3) and Brandon Moss followed with a single. Pinch-hitter Josh Reddick then blooped a single into right field off Vinnie Pestano before Donaldson's fourth hit of the night scored pinch-runner Adam Rosales .
"Staying the other way, letting the ball travel and getting a longer look at it, that's the things we preach in those type of situations," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Now it's difficult sometimes to go up there when the game's racing and you want to be the hero, but he did just that and it was a great at-bat."
Donaldson had three singles, a double and two RBIs. It was the first four-hit game of his career.
Cliff Pennington added a sacrifice fly to finish the rally for the A's, who pulled within five games of first-place Texas in the AL West and a half-game of the second wild-card spot.
Shelley Duncan hit his first career grand slam for the Indians.
"Once we got the grand slam we couldn't get the shutdown inning," Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. "We allowed them to get the momentum back. Baseball is all about pitching and they got it."
Jordan Norberto (4-1) pitched 1 2-3 innings for the win and Grant Balfour worked the ninth for his 10th save, capping a stellar night for Oakland's bullpen after starter Tommy Milone struggled.
Cleveland managed only one hit and two baserunners following Duncan's grand slam off Milone in the fourth. Pat Neshek relieved in the sixth and pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings before giving way to Norberto.
The A's also got an emotional lift from Reddick, their leading home run hitter who was not in the starting lineup after undergoing a second dental procedure earlier in the day.
Yoenis Cespedes had two hits, Pennington added two RBIs and Moss scored twice to help the A's win for the 10th time in 21 games following a 16-2 run in July.
Cleveland dropped to 1-3 on its nine-game road trip. The Indians fell to 10-24 since the All-Star break, the worst mark in the AL.
It didn't start out so bad for the Indians.
Carlos Santana walked leading off the first and went to second when Cespedes misplayed Michael Brantley 's fly ball to left. The play was originally scored an error before being changed to a hit nearly an hour after the game.
Jason Donald followed with a single to load the bases before Duncan hit a 3-2 pitch from Milone into the stands above the left-field scoreboard.
It was Duncan's 11th home run this season but only his fourth hit in August. The designated hitter went into the game batting .107 this month.
Cleveland starter Zach McAllister , who began the season with Triple-A Columbus, couldn't make the four-run lead hold up. The right-hander had six strikeouts and one walk but pitched with runners on base in every inning.
He gave up an RBI double to Donaldson in the fourth and the A's pulled within 4-2 when Moss scored on Derek Norris ' grounder. Pennington followed with a two-out single to drive in Donaldson.
Oakland tied it in the fifth when Cespedes doubled, stole third and scored on Carter's sacrifice fly.
"It was great to get a good jump on the game and get runs on the board early," Duncan said. "But for them to answer like that killed us."
Milone struck out six and walked one. He is winless in his last five starts and has a 7.13 ERA during that span.
NOTES: Norris, Oakland's catcher, was hit in the back of the head on Santana's follow-through in the first but remained in the game. ... Several members of the A's 2002 team were on hand. The franchise is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Oakland's 20-game winning streak, which was the subject of the movie "Moneyball." ... Acta said he expects to bring up at least one starter when rosters expand in September. ... Cleveland slugger Travis Hafner , on the disabled list since Aug. 6, continues to rest after receiving an injection in his lower back last week. The Indians have no timetable for his return. ... A's LHP Brett Anderson (elbow) is slated to throw a bullpen Saturday. ... RHP Bartolo Colon (9-9), who pitches for Oakland on Saturday, has a 2.47 ERA since coming off the disabled list July 3. RHP Corey Kluber (0-1) pitches the middle game for Cleveland in his fifth start this season. ... Donald made his first career start in left field.