Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) – Matt LaPorta hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth inning, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 3-2 win over the Oakland A’s in the final contest of a three-game set at Progressive Field.
LaPorta’s eighth homer of the season helped the Indians win for only the 10th time this season when scoring three runs or fewer. Cleveland also snapped a five-game losing streak overall.
Justin Masterson (5-12) pitched six solid innings to earn the win, allowing two runs, five hits and two walks while fanning three. Chris Perez pitched 1 2/3 scoreless frames, striking out four, to record his 16th save.
Kevin Kouzmanoff hit two doubles and drove in a run for Oakland, which had won six of its last eight and was bidding for a three-game sweep of this series. Gabe Gross added an RBI in defeat.
Despite the loss, Vin Mazzaro (6-6) threw the Athletics’ 18th straight quality start, tying the franchise record set by the Philadelphia A’s in 1927. The righty gave up three runs, seven hits and two walks while fanning five in 6 1/3 frames, marking the 24th straight game that an A’s starting pitcher lasted at least six innings.
Oakland jumped on top with a run in the second.
Mark Ellis was hit by a pitch with one out, and Jeff Larish followed with a single to left. Two batters later, Gross’ two-out base hit plated Ellis.
The Indians tied the game in the fifth. After the first two batters were retired, Lou Marson drew a walk. He stole second on a 1-0 count to Michael Brantley, took third on a wild pitch and scored when Brantley singled to right.
The A’s went back ahead on Kouzmanoff’s RBI double in the sixth, but Cleveland used more two-out magic to take the lead for good in the home half. Again Mazzaro retired the first two hitters of the inning, but Trevor Crowe kept the frame alive with a single to right. LaPorta followed with a blast over the wall in left for a 3-2 Indians lead.
Rafael Perez relieved Masterson in the seventh and pitched a perfect inning, and Joe Smith retired the Athletics’ leadoff hitter in the eighth before issuing two walks.
Perez came in and got out of the jam and threw a scoreless ninth — surrendering only a one-out single — to lock down the win.
The A’s have 83 quality starts this season in 126 games, the most in the majors…Oakland’s record for consecutive games where the starter pitches six innings is 25, set in 1980…The 18 straight quality starts by Athletics pitching is the most since the Atlanta Braves ripped off 21 in a row in 1997…Despite the loss, Oakland won the season series, 6-3…The A’s have allowed five runs or fewer in 24 straight games, the longest streak in the AL since Kansas City went 25 consecutive games in 1980…Cleveland is 10-53 when scoring three runs or fewer this season