Indians' Sabathia Struggles Again At 'Home'

C.C. Sabathia

Pardon C.C. Sabathia if he cries foul. The Oakland Athletics seemed to keep fouling off pitches from Cleveland's large left-hander all day until finally getting one to their liking -- then hitting it fair. Their collective tenacity at bat led to a 7-4 win over the Indians. The A's appear to be playoff-bound as the victory cut Oakland's magic number for winning the AL West Division to four games.

The Indians struck out 13 times, after fanning 17 times against the A's on Tuesday night. Overall, Cleveland struck out 40 times and lost three of four games in the series.

Sabathia (11-11, 3.36 ERA), who grew up in nearby Vallejo, Calif., started strongly. He shut out the A's on 42 pitches over the first three innings and Grady Sizemore hit his 24th homer to put the Indians ahead, 1-0.

Then things went awry in the fourth for Cleveland. Frank Thomas fouled off a couple before walking and Jay Payton was safe after tapping an 0-2 pitch back to Sabathia, who threw wildly for an error. The lefty then hit Nick Swisher with an 0-1 pitch to load the bases.

Mark Ellis tied the score with a sacrifice fly, then tormer Indians farmhand Marcos Scutaro fouled off five straight pitches, worked the count to 3-2, and hit an RBI single to make it 2-1. After Antonio Perez fouled out, Jason Kendall fouled off four pitches before hitting a two-run single on the ninth pitch of his at-bat for a 4-1 lead.

Victor Martinez and Casey Blake each had RBI singles in the fifth to get the Indians within 4-3, before the same part of the A's order got to Sabathia again in the sixth.

Ellis singled with one out and took second when Scutaro hit a 3-2 pitch for an infield single. Perez fouled off three pitches before walking to load the bases and Kendall followed with another two-run single for a 6-3 lead.

That finished Sabathia, but reliever Brian Sikorski walked Mark Kotsay on four pitches to reload the bases and yielded an RBI single to Milton Bradley that put Oakland ahead, 7-3.

Cleveland got three straight singles to open the ninth against reliever Jay Witasick, but scored only once -- on a sac fly by Jason Michaels.

Sabathia allowed seven runs (four earned) on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings to fall to 1-2 with a 6.97 ERA in six career games in Oakland. He's 1-4 with a 6.40 overall in 10 games against the A's.

Oakland used seven pitchers with Chad Gaudin getting the win in relief of Rich Harden, who fanned seven over three innings. Harden pitched for the second time since April 26 and had been on the disabled list since June 4.

Andrew Brown and Matt Miller each pitched a scoreless inning for the Indians.

Sizemore (.294), Martinez (.317) and Ryan Garko (.299) each had two of Cleveland's nine hits.

MOVING ON UP: The Indians made several transactions involving the club's 40-man roster, none of which affects the active 33-man roster. Recalled from the minors were first baseman Michael Aubrey, infielders Lou Merloni and Mike Rouse and outfielders Jason Dubois and Brad Snyder. None of them will join the Indians this season. The Indians also outrighted right-hander Jake Dittler and left-hander Jason Stanford off their roster and onto the Triple-A Buffalo roster. The Indians 40-man roster now stands at 38 players. Recommended Stories

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