"I LOVE THIS TEAM!"
Your 2012 Oakland Athletics. They can strikeout 16 times in a game, but they have created a very complex formula on how to win ball games. Apparently when you score more runs than you give up, the win probability is very high.
The A's didn't get off to a great start as Indians starter Zach McAllister struck out the side (Drew, Reddick, Cespedes) in the first. Milone on the other hand started the game by pitching in the stretch as Jason Kipnis lined single to Josh Reddick who misplayed the ball and received an error as Kipnis advanced to second base. The one walk that Milone gave up was in the first, as Michael Brantley eventually lined out with runners on 1st and 2nd and 2 outs to end the inning.
The A's got things going offensively in the 2nd inning as they followed with three consecutive singles. One to center field by Seth Smith, another to center by Chris Carter, and one hit to left field by Brandon Moss that was butchered by Indians left fielder Shelley Duncan as it fell right in front of him to bring in Smith from 3rd and move runners to 2nd and 3rd and no outs for the A's. Josh Donaldson and Derek Norris would fly out and strike out keeping the runners in place, but Adam Rosales, playing 2B today, slipped a single right through third basemen Jason Donald and shortstop Brent Lillibridge as they could not field the ball in a diving effort, bringing in Chris Carter and increasing the A's lead to 2 - 0. Stephen Drew then walked to load the bases with 2 outs, but Reddick followed with a first pitch pop-out to second basemen Jason Kipnis.
The A's put up two more runs in the top of the third inning as Smith doubled before being brought in on a two-run home run to straight-away center field off the bat of Brandon Moss, who hit his 14th of the season to double the A's lead to 4 - 0. With two outs in the 3rd Milone gave up back-to-back singles to Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana, but was able to get out of the inning with no damage done.
Leading off the 5th inning, Chris Carter hammered an opposite-field home run to pack on another run and bring the lead to 5 - 0. After Josh Donaldson walked with 1 out, Derek Norris hit a ball softly to SS Brent Lillibridge , but an errant throw in attempt of the double play brought runners to 2nd and third with 1 out. With McAllister out of the game and replaced with reliever Tony Sipp, Adam Rosales and Stephen Drew struck out to end the A's threat.
Both teams would go down 1-2-3 in the 6th as Milone left the game after 6 innings, scattering 7 hits, a walk, and came up with 5 timely strikeouts (2 coming in the 4th inning with runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs).
Pitching the 7th for the Indians was reliever Esmil Rogers, who struck out the side (Carter, Moss, Donaldson) bringing the A's batters strikeouts to 13. Jerry Blevins relieved the A's for the bottom of the 7th, only giving up a double to Asdrubal Cabrera, but no damage was done. With Joe Smith pitching the 9th for the Indians, Reddick hit a bill that 2B Jason Kipnis could not field as it was ruled a single. Cespedes came up to bat, but struck out for the third time. Smith then hit a line drive to right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, but it was dropped, placing runners at 1st and 2nd with one out. With his third hit of the game, Carter doubled down the right field line to bring in Reddick from 2nd and putting runners at 2nd and 3rd and still only one out. Brandon Moss struck out for the second out of the inning and as Josh Donaldson was batting, Seth Smith scored from 3rd on a wild pitch by reliever Joe Smith and the A's were at 7 - 0 as Donaldson grounded out to end the 9th.
Scribner was pitched a perfect, stress-free, ninth-inning en route to the A's 2nd shutout in a row, 71st win on the year and assuring a series tie. But knowing the A's, they won't make due for anything less than a four-game sweep of the Indians. Just think about it. Last year the A's won a total of 74 games and as of August 28th, 2012, with 34 games left in the season, the A's are three games shy of matching that total. What a difference an offseason makes.
We do it all again tomorrow as lefty Travis Blackley is set to face righty Cory Kluber. The odds are definitely in the A's favor. After tonight's game, the Indians are 14 - 29 in games against lefties, the worst record in the majors. Same time, same place.