CLEVELAND (AP) - Brandon McCarthy struck out a career-high 10, pitched a complete game, and still couldn't get a win for the Oakland Athletics.
The Athletics managed only five hits off five Cleveland pitchers and fell to the Indians 2-1 on Monday night, their fourth loss in five games. The Indians, battling to stay alive in the AL Central race, won for the third time in four games and improved to 17-8 in one-run games at home.
``He pitched great,' Oakland manager Bob Melvin said of McCarthy (7-7), who is 6-2 in nine starts since July 15.
Carlos Santana hit his 20th homer to give Cleveland a 2-0 lead in the seventh off McCarthy. It was only the eighth homer allowed by the right-hander and seventh without a runner on base.
Cleveland took a 1-0 lead in the sixth. Ezequiel Carrera lined a two-out single to center and scored from first on Fukudome's line double into the right-field corner.
``A big hit there and a good slide,' Indians manager Manny Acta said.
Kurt Suzuki took the relay throw from second baseman Jemile Weeks on the first-base side of the plate, but Carrera swiped the plate, eluding the catcher's lunging tag.
``He gave up the one pitch, the home run,' Melvin said. ``Other than that even the pitch to Fukudome was a good pitch in (that) jammed (him) a little bit, but he pulled it down in the corner. He certainly deserved to finish the game.'
It was McCarthy's fourth career complete game, third this season. All three this year have been losses.
``It's either some sort of statistical fluke or I'm giving up runs when I shouldn't be,' McCarthy said. ``It's a bittersweet feeling. I want to get deep into games and getting a complete game is a point of pride, but doing it and giving up too many runs isn't something I'm thrilled with.'
McCarthy lost 1-0 at Seattle in April, and 4-3 at Kansas City in May.
The Athletics have averaged 6.1 runs in McCarthy's seven wins and only 1.7 runs in his seven losses.
``That's just part of the game,' McCarthy said. ``How do you know when you're going to get the runs? Pitching harder for a win or a loss - those things just don't exist. It's just me focusing on making a pitch and doing that 100-plus times a night. If I do that more often than not we'll come out ahead.'
Held to three hits over six scoreless innings by David Huff (2-2), the Athletics broke through in the eighth against relievers Joe Smith and Tony Sipp.
``He pitched just as well (as McCarthy),' Melvin said of Huff. ``A lot of getting ahead, keeping the ball down, throwing some cutters, changeups, sliders. He kept us off-balance.'
Scott Sizemore lined a leadoff double off Smith, who had worked a scoreless seventh. Sipp came on and Sizemore stole third. Weeks followed with an RBI double to get the Athletics within 2-1.
After Coco Crisp failed to advance Weeks with a bunt, Hideki Matsui backed Fukudome up against the wall in right field with a fly ball that sent Weeks to third.
Vinnie Pestano replaced Sipp and got Josh Willingham on a called third strike to strand Weeks. Willingham slammed his batting helmet to the ground after umpire Rob Drake made the call on a pitch that appeared low and outside of the strike zone.
Notes: Oakland sent RHP Graham Godfrey to Triple-A Sacramento and is expected to call up a player Tuesday. ... Cleveland will recall RHP Jeanmar Gomez to start Tuesday and will make a corresponding roster move. ... Oakland will counter with RHP Trevor Cahill (9-12), who has struggled since the All-Star break, going 1-5 with a 7.00 ERA in eight starts. He opened the season 6-0 with a 1.72 ERA through May 14, but is 3-12 with a 5.19 ERA since. ... Huff was the 13th lefty faced by the Athletics in 21 games, going 6-7. Oakland is 22-24 overall against lefties. ... Indians 2B Jason Donald was a late scratch with a contusion of his right index finger. He hurt it fielding a ground ball Sunday. Cleveland has six other players on the DL.
The Associated Press News Service
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