With one of their starters serving a lengthy suspension, the playoff-contending Oakland Athletics could use some more solid pitching performances. Brett Anderson will try to provide another such effort in his second start back from Tommy John surgery.
After a successful return last week, Anderson will get the ball for the A's in Monday night's opener of a four-game road series against the sputtering Cleveland Indians .
Oakland (69-57) has helped itself in the AL wild-card race by winning eight of 10, thanks in part to a 2.93 staff ERA over that stretch. The A's took two of three at fellow wild-card contender Tampa Bay in a series that concluded with a 4-2 victory Saturday.
After getting a rare Sunday off as the Tampa region prepared for the Republican National Convention, Oakland will try to add to the Indians' woes with help from Anderson (1-0, 1.29 ERA). The series against Cleveland is among seven straight games for the Athletics against sub-.500 teams.
Oakland will try to take advantage of those matchups before facing playoff contenders - Baltimore, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and Texas - in 23 of its final 29 regular-season contests.
"Every series is important. Every game is important," manager Bob Melvin told the team's official website. "If we start thinking about what could transpire two, three weeks from now, those are distractions we don't need to be thinking about."
In his first start since June 2011, Anderson gave up one run and four hits over seven innings of Tuesday's 4-1 win over Minnesota, walking none and striking out six.
"I don't think I could have scripted a better performance, all things considered," he said. "The big thing is helping the team win a ballgame, and hopefully I can continue to do that."
The A's could use more strong performances from Anderson after former AL Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon was suspended 50 games Wednesday after a positive test for testosterone. In his second start, the left-hander may benefit from facing the Indians (55-72), who have dropped 10 of 11 and 23 of 28.
Cleveland has been outscored 28-11 over its last seven contests after a 4-2 loss to the Yankees on Sunday.
"We just need to show up (Monday) and worry about that game," manager Manny Acta said.
Indians starter Roberto Hernandez (0-2, 6.75) will again seek his first win since returning from a major league suspension for using a false identity.
The right-hander, who pitched under the pseudonym Fausto Carmona for six seasons, has lost both of his starts since returning to the majors. He gave up four runs, three hits and two walks over six innings of Tuesday's 5-1 loss at Seattle.
Hernandez, who will make his first start at Progressive Field since Sept. 25, is 0-4 with a 5.09 ERA in his last four home matchups with Oakland.
Anderson, who is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in three career outings against Cleveland, will try to lead the A's to their fifth straight win in the series. Oakland swept three home games with the Indians from Aug. 17-19.
|August 18, 2012||Jordan Norberto||15-Day DL||Left shoulder tendinitis|
|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 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|
CLEVELAND (AP) -- After all Brett Anderson has been through, Oakland's left-hander wasn't going to let a bad call ruin his night.
Anderson gave up two hits, one on a questionable call, over seven innings and the Athletics beat the Cleveland Indians 3-0 on Monday night.
"His stuff was electric," manager Bob Melvin said after Oakland's ninth win in 11 games.
Josh Reddick homered for the Athletics, who moved into a tie with Baltimore for the AL wild-card lead, a half-game ahead of Tampa Bay.
Anderson (2-0), in his second start since having Tommy John surgery in July 2011, retired the first 13 batters until Michael Brantley was ruled safe with an infield hit in the fifth. TV replays showed umpire Jerry Meals missed the call.
"You have to be aware of the situation; I hadn't allowed a baserunner," Anderson said. "I can't get too upset, but it would have been interesting to see how it played out."
Ryan Cook struck out two in a perfect eighth and Grant Balfour completed the two-hitter for his 15th save and Oakland's 13th shutout. The Indians were blanked for the seventh time and are scoreless in 36 of their last 39 innings.
"It was not a good matchup for us," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "A guy like Anderson, a left-handed pitcher with a good breaking ball - he overmatched our guys."
Cleveland lost starter Roberto Hernandez (0-3) after 2 1-3 innings with a sprained right ankle and fell to 5-24 since July 27.
Acta said the injury came when Hernandez backed up home plate earlier and is not considered serious. Acta doesn't know if Hernandez will miss his next start.
"He wanted to stay out there, but that's not the right thing to do if you can't push off the back leg," Acta said.
Anderson's bid for perfection ended with one out in the fifth. Brantley tapped a slow roller to the right of the mound that was fielded by first baseman Chris Carter . He flipped to second baseman Cliff Pennington , whose foot hit first base an instant before Brantley got there, but Meals ruled safe.
"There were four people at the base at once and a cloud of dust," Anderson said. "Just too many people at the same place at the wrong time."
Melvin briefly argued with Meals. Anderson then got Shelley Duncan to hit into a double play.
"I had a good view of it and thought he was out," Melvin said.
Until then, the only thing close to a hit for Cleveland was Jason Donald 's line drive in the gap in right-center with one out in the fourth. Reddick made a diving, backhanded catch.
"He always makes plays," Melvin said. "He's one of the best right fielders in the game. Those plays don't surprise us anymore."
Brent Lillibridge opened the sixth with a double for Cleveland's first legitimate hit.
"You never like to give up hits, but that put it out to where you didn't have to worry about the other one," Anderson said.
Anderson and the Athletics are glad he's back for the stretch run, especially after right-hander Bartolo Colon was suspended 50 games for testing positive for testosterone.
"I didn't know what to expect," Anderson said after being sidelined more than a year. "I started fighting myself the last couple innings. It was humid and I got a little tired."
Hernandez was making his third start since being reinstated from a three-week suspension for using the assumed name of Fausto Carmona. It was his first start at Progressive Field since Sept. 25, but he fell to 0-5 in his last five home matchups with Oakland.
Hernandez made 28 pitches in the first inning as Yoenis Cespedes ran up the right-hander's pitch count. Cespedes fouled off eight consecutive pitches and eventually doubled on the 13th offering. That sent Stephen Drew , who had singled with one out, to third. Drew scored on a sacrifice fly by Seth Smith .
It took Oakland three pitches to make it 2-0 in the second. Reddick drove an 0-2 pitch over the wall in right for his 26th homer, breaking a 17-for-98 (.173) slide.
Carter's RBI single made it 3-0 in the third. The hit came one out after Chris Seddon replaced Hernandez.
NOTES: Oakland LHP Dallas Braden has had surgery to repair a torn left rotator cuff. Braden, who pitched a perfect game in 2010, originally had surgery on the shoulder May 17, 2011. ... A's INF Eric Sogard , out since Aug. 7 with a strained back, sprained his left ankle during a rehab assignment at Triple-A Sacramento and is shut down. ... The A's announced that LHP Jordan Norberto , on the DL with left shoulder tendinitis, had an injection in the shoulder last Thursday. ... Indians SS Asdrubal Cabrera , in a 3-for-31 (.097) slump, got a day off. "He's banged up," Acta said. "He looks a little tired." ... Melvin said INF Brandon Inge , out since Aug. 12, won't be activated just yet, though the veteran appears recovered from a sprained right shoulder.