CLEVELAND (AP) – The Oakland Athletics needed someone to come through with a clutch hit. Billy Butler obliged at a crucial moment.
Butler’s two-run double with the bases loaded broke a tie in the eighth inning and Oakland beat the Cleveland Indians 5-4 on Saturday night.
With two outs, Butler lined an 0-1 pitch from Bryan Shaw over first base to snap a 2-all tie. Right fielder Brandon Moss’ throwing error allowed a third run to score on the play.
“Sometimes you need a big hit to help you break out,” Butler said. “We’ve been having trouble with that. It hasn’t been happening for us lately.”
Butler was 2 for 8 lifetime off Shaw going into the game.
“I’ve faced him quite a bit,” Butler said. “It was a really good pitch, down and away. It hit off the end of the bat. I was lucky I found a hole down the line. I could have easily hit that at somebody too.”
Eric O’Flaherty (1-2) pitched 2-3 of an inning. Tyler Clippard, the Athletics’ fifth pitcher, recorded the final four outs for his 17th save.
Carlos Santana hit a two-run homer in the eighth, but Cleveland’s four-game winning streak ended.
All-Star Stephen Vogt started the winning rally with a two-out single off Zach McAllister (2-3). Marc Rzepczynski gave up a single to Ben Zobrist and walked Josh Reddick. Butler came through with the clutch hit that snapped Oakland’s three-game losing streak.
“That was huge,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ll take it, especially scoring a couple of runs like that was big for us.”
“Shaw made a real good pitch on a breaking ball to Butler, but you can’t have a fielder everywhere,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “It’s what led up to that at-bat that really hurt. We tried to set it up for (Rzepczynski), but it didn’t work.”
Moss’ throw to second base hit Butler in the back and rolled away, allowing Reddick to score, a run that turned out to be crucial.
“I didn’t think Moss was going to be throwing to second,” Butler said. “I had no clue whether that ball was going to be on me or not. That was a bright spot there. We needed that run.”
Carlos Carrasco allowed two runs and struck out seven in seven innings. The right-hander is 0-1 in two starts since coming within one out of pitching a no-hitter against Tampa Bay on July 1.
Oakland called up Chris Bassitt from Triple-A Nashville to take the rotation spot of right-hander Jesse Hahn, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained forearm. The right-hander allowed two runs in 6 1-3 innings.
Reddick’s sacrifice fly in the first gave Oakland the lead. Michael Brantley’s RBI single tied the game in the sixth. Ike Davis’ RBI double in the seventh put Oakland on top, but Roberto Perez’s single in the bottom of the inning tied the game again.
WHO’S ON THIRD?
Eric Sogard, playing third base for the first time in three years, handled both fielding chances cleanly, including a bunt by Michael Bourn in the third.
Athletics: LHP Scott Kazmir (left triceps strain) threw a 50-pitch bullpen session before the game and reported no problems. He left his last start Wednesday at the Yankees after three innings.
Indians: LHP Nick Hagadone (strained back) played catch Saturday and could begin a minor league rehab assignment after the All-Star break. He was placed on the 15-day DL on July 7.
Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray, a member of the AL All-Star team, makes his second start since returning from salmonella poisoning. He allowed three runs in six innings against the Yankees on Tuesday.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber recorded his first win since May 28 when he pitched 6 2-3 scoreless innings against Houston on Tuesday. He’s 0-3 in four career appearances (three starts) against Oakland.
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