CLEVELAND — The Indians took aim for the seats against Dillon Overton and handed the A’s a 6-3 defeat Saturday night at Progressive Field. Overton, a lefty called up for his third stint in the majors this year, gave up three home runs and lasted just 3 1/3 innings. The Indians went deep four times total in a game that pleased the home crowd at Progressive Field and included some flared tempers.
A’s designed hitter Billy Butler exchanged words with Cleveland catcher Chris Gimenez in the top of the fourth, then flipped his bat demonstratively after crushing a 440-foot home run immediately after. Gimenez jawed at Butler more as he began rounding the bases, prompting home plate ump Tripp Gibson to stand between the two players as Butler crossed home plate and issue a warning to both benches.
The crowd unleashed a rain of boos on Butler in his final two at-bats.
Overton, called up to make this start after Daniel Mengden was sent down, impressed the A’s in spring training and won his major league debut in Anaheim on June 25. But homers have been a serious problem in four major league starts. It’s possible the A’s look to other alternatives at Triple-A Nashville the next time through the rotation. Jesse Hahn and recently acquired Ross Detwiler, the latter of whom would need to be added to the 40-man roster.
The A’s have now lost their first series in five that have been played since the All-Star break. They arrived in Cleveland 9-4 in the second half but will have to win Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.
Starting pitching report
Overton (1-2) has allowed just three home runs total in his 17 outings at Triple-A this year. But in four big league starts, he’s allowed a whopping nine homers in just 18 1/3 innings. He gave up Jason Kipnis’ drive to right in the first after falling behind 2-0. Jose Ramirez led off the bottom of the second with a shot to left. Then after Butler’s homer tied it 2-2 in the top of the fourth, Cleveland claimed the lead right back when Abraham Almonte hit Overton’s first pitch of the bottom half over the left field wall. Even when the Indians weren’t going deep, they were hitting Overton hard. He lasted just 3 1/3 innings and gave up five runs on 10 hits, giving him a 9.33 ERA over four starts with Oakland.
Liam Hendriks entered in relief of Overton and allowed Mike Napoli’s two-run shot that made it a 6-2 game. Then Zach Neal the Indians off the board over the final three innings.
At the plate
Butler, who entered the night hitting .327 over his past 38 games, turned on a 3-2 pitch from Josh Tomlin and mashed his homer, on the first pitch after he and Gimenez began jawing for reasons that weren’t clear. Marcus Semien added a homer in the ninth off Cody Allen to make the final score a bit closer.
In the field
A’s left fielder Khris Davis turned in a fantastic diving catch of Jason Kipnis’ liner to keep Cleveland from scoring another run off Overton.
The announced turnout was 32,850.
With Rich Hill on the disabled list, Sonny Gray (5-9, 5.43) takes the mound in Sunday’s series finale at 10:10 a.m. Because the A’s were off Thursday, Gray will still be on a regular four days’ rest. Corey Kluber (9-8, 3.44) goes for the Indians.