CLEVELAND — Jose Ramírez doubled twice and then hit a homer to start a three-run rally at the end of the ninth inning as the Cleveland Guardians sent Oakland to their 10th straight loss and the Athletics 3-2 on Friday night defeated.
The A’s are stuck in their first double-digit slide since 2011, being outperformed 60-20 during the streak. Oakland has the worst record in the American League at 20-40 and has not won against Texas since May 29.
“Any time you think you’re going to get a break, they generally don’t go your way,” said A’s manager Mark Kotsay. “It’s never easy to get out of these kinds of situations. You have to earn it yourself.”
Ramírez, who leads the majors with 56 RBI, hit his 16th homer to lead the ninth against Dany Jiménez (2-4). Cleveland then loaded the bases with no outs and Owen Miller delivered the tying sacrificial fly.
Relieved, Sam Moll gave an infield single to Steven Kwan, who stressed the bases again. Luke Maile followed with a victim fly that hit rookie Oscar Gonzalez and sparked a celebration in the rain that unexpectedly started mid-innings.
“José is the best player in baseball, I’ve said it 50 times,” said Josh Naylor, Guardians hitter-designated. “He’s incredibly grippy. When he shows up in a tight game, you know something’s about to happen. He is unbelievable.”
Ramírez was the only baserunner to go past second through the ninth for the young Guardians, who have won nine of 11 and moved two games over .500.
Gonzalez went 1 for 4 and gave him goals in 13 of his first 14 career games. Roger Maris held the previous Cleveland franchise mark at 12.
“Sometimes you just avoid them because you don’t want to make them nervous,” said Guardians manager Terry Francona. “We’re up against some men and we have some kids and they’re doing fine.”
Oakland right-hander Paul Blackburn ran eight shutout innings, allowing four hits and knocking out three in the longest outing of his career to drop his road ERA to .93.
Converted outfielder Anthony Gose (2-0) hit two of the three batters he faced in the ninth game. Cleveland starter Triston McKenzie worked six innings, allowing solo homers from Seth Brown and Sean Murphy.
Brown scored in the first and Murphy went deep in the second. The A’s have 37 homers — the second fewest in baseball — and managed just five hits to drop their league-low batting average to .209.
“They’re a good team and they’re hot right now,” said Blackburn. “Times like this are tough for everyone, but you try to come in with a clear mind every day and not look at any streaks.”
Athletics RHP Lou Trivino, who made a team-high with 22 saves in 2021, has the most losses by a reliever in the American League with five saves. The deposed closer has a 9.20 ERA in 21 appearances this season, allowing for 15 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings. “Lou is one of those guys in the bullpen that we need to be successful,” Kotsay said. “And he’s had it here before.”
Athletics: 2B Jed Lowrie (wrist, shoulder pain) was not in the lineup after being involved in a collision on the bases on Thursday. Kotsay said Lowrie “is quite sore and has been treated but there’s no guarantee he’ll be available off the bench.” Lowrie has been unsuccessful in nine straight at-bats as part of a 5-for-42 slump.
Guardian: RHP Aaron Civale (gluteus left), who was injured against Detroit on May 20, will make a second rehab start for Triple-A Columbus. Civale threw 50 pitches in two innings Thursday and allowed two runs in Indianapolis. “According to his report, Aaron was a little rusty so he’ll be back in five days,” said manager Terry Francona.
Athletics: RHP Frankie Montas (2-6, 3.06 ERA) tries to break his career-long losing streak at five. Montas has a 2.87 ERA and has kept opponents at a .214 average in his last nine starts, but didn’t deserve a win.
Keepers: RHP Zach Plesac (2-4, 4.72 ERA) has a win in his last seven starts, eight over six innings in a 3-2 win in Baltimore on June 5. Plesac has a 1/3 record with 6.21 ERA during the time frame.