Seven times the A's had a runner in scoring position. Seven times they failed. As a result, the A's dropped to 7-9 on the year after a 5-1 loss to Cleveland in front of a crowd of 25,258 at the Coliseum.
Wearing gold in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the 1972 A's that brought the first world championship to the city of Oakland, the A's just simply could not get a clutch hit to score more runs. Starter Brandon McCarthy was the hard-luck loser, falling to 0-3 on the 2012 season. McCarthy went seven innings, scattering 10 hits with three walks and only allowing two runs. The Indians, however, busted the game open with three runs off of reliever Brian Fuentes in the eighth.
Down 2-0 in the sixth, the A's started a rally with a lead-off double by Cliff Pennington. Josh Reddick hit a deep drive to center that advanced Pennington to third, and Yoenis Cespedes then hit a sacrifice fly to cut the lead in half, 2-1. After a Seth Smith single, Jonny Gomes flied out to end the inning. The A's had chances in the first and second innings, but Smith fouled out to third with runners on second and third in the first inning, and Eric Sogard and Jemile Weeks were retired with runners on first and third in the second.
With the score 5-1, the A's made a final rally in the ninth. With one out, Gomes reached on infield single and Daric Barton doubled to put runners on second and third. But Kurt Suzuki struck out and Indians closer Chris Perez induced a fly ball from pinch hitter Kila Ka'aihue to get an easy one-out save.
Brandon McCarthy. Yes, he allowed 13 base runners. But when he exited the game, he had only allowed two of those runners to score and probably deserved better than his third loss.
A's with runners in scoring position. It's a recurring theme; 0-7 is just not going to get it done. If the A's had pushed just one of the runners home in the second, it could have been a different game. Instead...
A close game was busted open with Brian Fuentes lit up for three runs in the eighth. Fuentes had looked solid to open the season, but this performance was more in line with the guy A's fans saw all too frequently in 2011.
Having lost the first two games of the series, the A's will try to salvage the finale Sunday afternoon. Tyson Ross will get his second start against Cleveland's Justin Masterson. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m PDT.