OAKLAND, Calif. — This wasn’t the way the Indians wanted to start the second half of the season.
Sonny Gray and three relievers combined on a four-hitter and the Oakland Athletics beat Cleveland 5-0 on Friday night to spoil the return of Indians manager Terry Francona.
Yonder Alonso and Rajai Davis homered in the fifth inning while Matt Joyce doubled, scored and drove in a run to help the A’s beat the Indians in the opener of the series after dropping three of four in Cleveland earlier this season.
It is the third shutout by Oakland this season.
Gray (5-4) allowed two hits over six innings with five strikeouts and one walk in one of his strongest outings this season. Both of the hits came in the third inning, one an infield hit by Erik Gonzalez.
Three relievers combined for the final nine outs. Santiago Casilla retired three for his 16th save.
Francona returned to the Indians bench following a six-game absence when he underwent a minor procedure for an irregular heartbeat last week. The Cleveland skipper had also been tabbed to manage the American League in Tuesday’s All-Star Game but had to opt out.
The Indians were blanked for the fourth time in their last 17 games and sixth time overall.
Davis homered leading off the fifth against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (10-4). Davis also singled and scored Oakland’s first run in the third.
Alonso, the A’s lone All-Star, hit his 21st home run three batters later.
Carrasco fanned 10 but lost to Oakland for the first time in five career starts. The right-hander allowed five runs over 6 1/3 innings and walked two.
The Indians went into the day with the third-best record in the AL but lost to kick off their weeklong stay in Northern California. Following the three-game series in Oakland, Cleveland heads across the San Francisco Bay to play three games at AT&T Park against the Giants.
Indians: OF Lonnie Chisenhall was placed on the 10-day DL with a strained right calf. Tyler Naquin was recalled from Triple-A Columbus and started in right field.
Athletics: RHP Andrew Triggs underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. Triggs went 5-6 with a 4.27 ERA in 12 starts.
... C Ryan Lavarnway was outrighted to Triple-A Nashville. Lavarnway was called up when Josh Phegley went on the paternity list.
RHP Corey Kluber (7-3, 2.80 ERA) makes his second start against Oakland this season today. Kluber pitched six innings of a 1-0 win on June 1. The A’s will go with rookie RHP Paul Blackburn (1-0, 0.66 ERA).
- Tough start: Trevor Bauer lasts less than an inning as Indians lose to A's, stay winless after the All-Star break
- Late home runs topple Indians: A's go deep on Corey Kluber to tie game in eighth, win it with two-run shot off Bryan Shaw in ninth
- Indians: Manager Terry Francona joins team in Oakland, thrilled to be back