Created on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 Written by STEVE HERRICK,Associated Press
CLEVELAND (AP) — It's easy to see why Cleveland manager Terry Francona likes what he sees from his team these days.
Thanks to stellar pitching and pushing across an unearned run, the Indians won for the eighth time in nine games with a 1-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.
Zach McAllister and two relievers combined on a shutout while Cleveland took advantage of two errors on one play, which led to Yan Gomes' sacrifice fly in the fifth that scored the game's only run.
"When you pitch you have a chance to win the game," Francona said. "We didn't do a whole lot offensively. We had a sac fly and you hear the music playing."
Francona made his remarks in an interview room a few feet from the Indians' clubhouse where music blared from a stereo system, leading to the manager's only minor criticism of the night.
"I'm not sure I like the words to that song that's playing," he joked.
Other than that, it was another good night for the Indians, who are two games over .500 for the first time since winning the first two games of the season. 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.
McAllister, who came into the season with a 6-9 career record, has allowed three earned runs or less in all six starts.
"He ran the game," Francona said. "He's learning so fast. When you tell him something, even in passing, he takes it into the game. The game's not speeding up at all. He's executing pitches."
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 led to the only run.
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.
Oakland, which is already playing without Coco Crisp and Chris Young, could be missing right fielder Josh Reddick for an indefinite period. Reddick missed Tuesday's game with a sore right wrist and said afterward he might require a trip to the disabled list. He's in a 3-for-27 slump and batting .152.
McAllister was the recipient of seven home runs in his last start, a 14-2 win over Philadelphia. The right-hander didn't have that luxury this time.
"Everyone wants to have a lot of run support, but you're going to have games like this when the pitcher has to pick up the hitters," he said.
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.
"It was a laser," Perez said of Gomes' throw. "It was right on the bag, right on the money."
Oakland manager Bob Melvin had no problems with the steal attempt.
"You've got to try it," he said. "Cespedes had to take that chance. If I didn't want him to go, I'd have put a red light on him."
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.
"As a first baseman, when a ball is hit to your right, your instincts tell you to go for it," Melvin said. "Now, Brandon also has got to know his limitations, but that's a play you're going to try and make. Then, Sogey tries to make a throw to Milone and that didn't turn out too good."
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 Tuesday. ... 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. Brantley entered the game defensively in the ninth. ... 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. ... Athletics RHP Jarrod Parker (sore neck) will throw Wednesday and a decision will then be made on whether he makes his next start. He was pulled after allowing four home runs in five innings Monday because of the injury. ... LHP Brett Anderson (sprained right ankle) will join the team in Cleveland and throw a bullpen session Wednesday. ... RHP A.J. Griffin (3-2) takes on RHP Justin Masterson (4-2) in the third game of the series Wednesday.