CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 29: Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the Cleveland Indians is thrown out of the game after arguing strike three with home plate umpire umpire Gary Darling #37 during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Progressive Field on August 29, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
At least this time the Indians scored some runs.
The scoreless streak finally ended when Jason Donald homered in the third inning. That gave the Indians the lead, and they'd score another run to push the lead to 2-0. But a Josh Donaldson three-run homer the next inning pushed Oakland ahead, and they wouldn't relinquish their lead.
Before the game, the Indians designated Shelley Duncan for assignment because they needed an extra roster spot for a pitcher, so Cleveland was playing with a three-man bench. And they'd use everyone on it tonight, starting in the first inning; after taking a third strike on a ball well out of the strike zone, Asdrubal Cabrera snapped, and before Manny Acta to get out to separate him from home plate umpire Gary Darling tossed the Tribe shortstop. That brought Jack Hannahan into the game to play third, and moved Brent Lillibridge to shortstop.
Then Carlos Santana was removed in the top of the sixth inning by Acta for not running out a ground ball. From Acta's perspective, this represented a message to not only Santana but the rest of the club. The Indians are in a tailspin of epic proportions, and there's still a month to go. Before the last couple weeks, I didn't think it very likely that the Indians would fire Acta, even after the 12-game losing streak. But this recent streak of losses seems much different than the one at the beginning of the month, from the play on the field and the motivation of the players making the plays. Acta's going to have to regain the clubhouse before the season ends, and the Santana benching looks like the first public step in his attempt to do so.
Oakland would score four more runs off the Cleveland bullpen and win 8-4. Oakland is as hot as any team in baseball despite having a team full of rookies and young veterans. Cleveland has a team full of rookies and young veterans, and has as much momentum as a lead safe on a level floor.
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