Bradley Zimmer belted All-Star Chris Bassitt’s first pitch of the game over the fence, Daniel Johnson broke a seventh-inning tie with his first career homer and the Cleveland Indians used a familiar script to beat the host Oakland Athletics for the second consecutive day in a 4-2 series-ending victory on Sunday afternoon.
Right-hander Zach Plesac (5-3) combined with three relievers on a four-hitter, allowing the Indians to record a second straight tight win after blowing a one-run lead in the ninth en route to a 5-4 loss in Friday’s series opener.
For the third consecutive game, Cleveland took a narrow advantage into the late innings on the strength of a key homer and outstanding starting pitching.
Johnson provided the power this time, connecting on a home run for the first time in 33 career big-league at-bats over two seasons, with two outs in the seventh to put Cleveland in front 3-2.
A product of Jesse Bethel High in Vallejo just up the road from Oakland, Johnson had been just 4-for-32 in his career with all singles, including one in the fifth inning after which he scored the Indians’ second run.
Bassitt (10-3) was pulled after the seventh inning, charged with three runs on six hits. He struck out eight and did not issue a walk.
The loss was the righty’s first since April 6, ending a personal 10-game winning streak and 17-game unbeaten run.
Making his second start since returning from a broken thumb, Plesac limited the A’s to two runs and four hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out three.
One of the hits Plesac allowed was a solo home run by Seth Brown in the last of the fifth, which produced the 2-2 tie. The homer was Brown’s 11th of the season.
Nick Wittgren, Phil Maton and Bryan Shaw set down the A’s in order over the final three innings, combining for five strikeouts among the nine outs. Shaw was credited with his second save.
Zimmer, a former standout at the University of San Francisco across the bay, gave Shaw extra breathing room with a two-out, RBI single in the top of the ninth, making it a two-run game.
Zimmer’s first-inning homer was his second of the series after he hadn’t had any in the first half of the season. He finished 3-for-5 — his first three-hit game since April of 2018 — with three RBIs.
Johnson and Amed Rosario collected two hits each for the Indians, who have won five of their past six.
The Indians out-homered the A’s 5-3 in the series. Seven of those were solo shots.
–Field Level Media