OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Another powerful pitching performance. Another struggle to score runs.
That's become a familiar theme already this season for the Oakland Athletics, and it was again in a 4-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians in 12 innings Thursday.
``This was a tough one to lose,' A's manager Bob Geren said. ``That's a game we could have and should have won.'
Jack Hannahan and Lou Marson had RBI singles in the 12th inning to help Cleveland Indians match the best start in franchise history, wasting another brilliant start by Brett Anderson.
Anderson allowed two runs on seven hits over nine innings, dominating the Indians for most of the day. But he had little run support - again - and watched as the Indians rallied against the bullpen.
``It was a tale of three different games really,' Anderson said. ``I felt good at the beginning and then we had that long inning and scored and I got a little tired. Then I felt good at the end. My command was a lot better.'
A night after Oakland snapped Cleveland's seven-game winning streak, the Indians won in their final at-bat for the seventh time this season. This is also the seventh time the Indians have started 21-9, including in 1948 - the last time they won the World Series.
Hannahan's bloop single to left field off reliever Craig Breslow (0-2) provided the go-ahead run, and Marson followed with a single to propel Cleveland to another late-inning rally. Chad Durbin (2-1) pitched two innings for the win and Chris Perez earned his ninth save in 10 chances.
``Brett did a great job and we just couldn't get him the extra run,' first baseman Daric Barton said. ``A one-run game, 12 innings? It's not frustrating at all. It was a well-pitched game and unfortunately we didn't come out on top.'
The Athletics couldn't match the late-game exploits.
Ryan Sweeney had a career-high five hits and added two RBIs for the Athletics, who wasted another strong performance by starter Anderson. He pitched nine innings and got a no-decision.
Oakland stranded 12 runners on base and twice blew chances in extra innings with men in scoring position.
The Indians again showed why they have been one of baseball's best and most surprising teams this season.
They overcame Sweeney's tying RBI double in the eighth against reliever Vinnie Pestano and continually pitched out of jams. Sweeney's run-scoring single in the 12th brought Oakland within a run before Perez regrouped to get pinch-hitter Hideki Matsui to pop out to short left and end the game.
``They're a scrappy team that knows how to put runs on the board,' Sweeney said. ``They have the best record in baseball for a reason.'
The Indians found a way to outlast another pitcher at his peak for their first series win in Oakland since 2002.
Anderson retired the first 13 batters with relative ease, with only two outs even making it beyond the infield. Not until one out in the fifth inning did a Cleveland hitter finally reach base, and even that took some help.
Travis Hafner hit a hard ground ball to Barton, who made a diving stop but bobbled the ball trying to transfer it out of his glove and toss it to Anderson hustling to cover the base.
The slow-to-score A's struggled again to produce at the plate behind a sharp starter.
Anderson struck out five and allowed seven hits in nine innings, baffling Cleveland's hitters on a sun-baked day at the Coliseum. He just didn't get much support, a growing theme for Oakland's starters this season.
Barton's two-out, RBI-single in the fifth drove in Mark Ellis to give Oakland a 1-0 lead. The A's stranded two more runners in the inning, with Conor Jackson grounding out to end the threat.
The Indians briefly got to Anderson with singles from Marson and Michael Brantley to open the sixth. Then Asdrubal Cabrera drove both home with a single up the middle to put the Indians ahead 2-1.
Indians starter Jeanmar Gomez allowed one run, six hits and two walks in 5 2-3 innings.
NOTES: A's All-Star closer Andrew Bailey is scheduled to face hitters for the second time this week Saturday in Kansas City, manager Bob Geren said. Bailey hasn't pitched this season because of a strained right forearm. ... A's CF Coco Crisp and DH Matsui also had scheduled days off with the quick turnaround after Wednesday night's game, although both pinch-hit late in the game.
The Associated Press News Service
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