Pinch-hitter Mark Canha’s two-run homer off struggling Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer in the third inning sent the Oakland Athletics to their fifth straight win, 5-3 over the Indians on Tuesday night.
Canha replaced injured slugger Khris Davis and connected off Bauer (4-3), who managed to hang around for six innings despite early wildness. The right-hander is winless since April 30 and his outings have become more concerning. The Indians were hoping for more while waiting for injured starters Corey Kluber and Mike Clevinger to return.
Bauer walked four, struck out five and hit three while throwing a season-high 123 pitches.
Oakland reliever Liam Hendricks (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings and Blake Treinen, the A’s fourth reliever, worked the ninth for his ninth save in 11 tries.
Davis, who entered with 12 homers, has been slowed by a bruised left hip sustained on May 5 in Pittsburgh. Manager Bob Melvin has rested him whenever possible, but Davis doesn’t seem to be improving and the A’s could be forced to put him on the injured list.
Jurickson Profar homered in the eighth as Oakland improved to 7-1 against AL Central teams this season. The A’s are 59-20 vs. Cleveland, Chicago, Minnesota, Detroit and Kansas City dating to Aug. 23, 2016.
Francisco Lindor and Carlos Santana hit solo homers for Cleveland.
With Bauer struggling to find his rhythm, Canha hit his third career pinch-homer to give the A’s a 3-1 lead in the third.
Batting for Davis, last year’s major league home run king, Canha fell behind 1-2 before reaching out of the strike zone to push a four-seam fastball over the wall in right.
Santana pulled the Indians to 3-2 in the third with his eighth homer, and Cleveland closed to 4-3 while chasing Bassitt in the fourth on Oscar Mercado’s RBI double.
But the Indians only got one hit after the fourth and didn’t get a runner to second over the final five innings.
Bauer lost command — and control — of his pitches in the second inning, when he loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batter before walking No. 9 hitter Josh Phegley on four pitches to force in Oakland’s first run. He got out of the jam by retiring Marcus Semien on a fielder’s choice.
Lindor homered on starter Chris Bassitt’s fourth pitch, driving it 416 feet to right-center for his 14th career leadoff homer.
Athletics: LHP Brett Anderson (neck strain) appears on track to make his next start after he ducked to avoid Roberto Pérez’s broken bat in the fifth inning Monday night. Anderson came out an inning later. “I hope it doesn’t affect his bullpen session, let alone his next outing,” Melvin said.
Indians: Pérez was pulled after four innings to be evaluated for a head injury. … Clevinger threw an extended bullpen, using all his pitches in the latest stage of his rapid recovery from an upper back strain. Manager Terry Francona said Clevinger, who was once thought to be lost until August, could throw another bullpen session or possibly face live batters in his next workout.
Athletics: RHP Frankie Montas (5-2, 2.67 ERA), who has already matched his career-high for wins, starts the series finale. He struck out 10 and did not allow a walk last week in a win over Detroit.
Indians: RHP Jefry Rodríguez (1-3, 3.45 ERA) tries to bounce back after being tagged for a season-high four runs and seven hits last week against Baltimore. He beat Oakland on May 11 for his first win with Cleveland.