OAKLAND – Kendall Graveman received plenty of praise from his A’s teammates Friday night.
What they’d really like to give him is some run support.
The offensive struggles of the past two nights sting a little more for A’s hitters when they see the kind of pitching they’ve gotten from their rookie starters. Graveman was back in sharp form Friday after two very wobbly starts, holding the Cleveland Indians to one unearned run over 6 2/3 innings.
It didn’t translate to a victory, as the A’s were held to one hit behind a second consecutive dominant effort from an Indians starter. Danny Salazar held the A’s to one hit over eight innings in a 2-1 Cleveland win, meaning Oakland has totaled exactly one hit over its past 17 innings of baseball.
“You look up and there’s three hits combined in the last two nights,” A’s catcher Stephen Vogt said. “… Anytime you waste a good start as a hitter you get frustrated about that. When you can’t give your boy two runs and he goes up there and gives up one unearned, he should get the win for that. And we weren’t able to do that for him.”
On Thursday, Chris Bassitt recovered from a three-run first and delivered seven strong innings, but it was the Indians’ Carlos Carrasco holding the A’s bats spellbound. The A’s actually led 1-0 after six innings Friday, but a two-out throwing error from shortstop Marcus Semien brought home the tying run in the seventh, and Michael Bourn’s go-ahead double off Edward Mujica in the ninth was the game winner.
A’s manager Bob Melvin and first baseman Ike Davis both felt Semien shouldn’t have been given an error in the seventh. He had to charge Giovanny Urshela’s two-hopper to short and slung an off-balance throw that pulled Davis off the bag. But Semien fielded the ball with no problem and was under control throughout the play. A good throw would have had Urshela by a full step.
Semien, who committed his 29th error after going 14 games in a row without one, took the blame afterward and agreed with the error call.
“That’s a play that’s gotta be made,” the shortstop said . “I came in with a full head of steam. It’s a game of inches, if I aim a little more to the left side of him, we get that out. … Kendall deserves that win. We get one hit and still could have won that game.”
Vogt will be glad to turn the calendar after hitting .163 in July (13-for-80), lowering his average to .266 overall. Melvin has dropped him down to sixth in the order the past two nights.
“I’m struggling, just flat out,” Vogt said. “Jumpy, not very good pitch selection. I’m not getting anything to hit and I’m not being patient. It’s been frustrating, and I’m struggling. Swing feels good. It’s not physical. It’s pitch selection, timing. Just got to bounce out of it.”