OAKLAND (AP) — Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona expected more out of his ballclub coming out of the All-Star break — a lot more.
What Francona saw instead was a frustrating three games in Oakland that ended with the Indians being swept for only the third time this season while seeing their lead in the AL Central trimmed to 1 ½ games over Minnesota.
Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer got just two outs in a four-run first inning and matched the shortest start of his big league career as the Oakland Athletics beat Cleveland 7-3 on Sunday to complete the surprising sweep.
“It’s discouraging for a number of reasons,” Francona said. “You’re trying to salvage a game out of the series and you’re down four before you can even look up. That’s a hard way to play, and then you go through your whole bullpen. That wasn’t our goal for today.”
Bauer (7-8) allowed four runs, three hits and two walks while throwing just 24 of 43 pitches for strikes in facing seven batters. Cleveland has lost four straight for the first time since 2015.
“I had no feel for anything I was throwing, no feel for how my body was moving, where the ball was going,” Bauer said. “When things started going south I couldn’t figure out how to get out of it.”
Ryon Healy and Jaycob Brugman hit two-run singles in the first. Jed Lowrie homered against Dan Otero for a 5-0 lead in the third, and Matt Joyce had three hits and two RBIs.
Sean Manaea (8-5) struck out eight in seven innings, allowing two runs and five hits. Before the game, veteran-shedding Oakland dealt relievers Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle to Washington for right-hander Blake Treinen and a pair of prospects, left-hander Jesus Luzardo and infielder Sheldon Neuse.
“Maybe the break was good for everyone,” Manaea said. “A well-needed rest. Hearing the (trade) news put a fire under everybody.”
Francisco Lindor matched his career high with four hits, including three doubles. Michael Brantley hit a two-run single in the fourth, and Abraham Almonte homered with two outs in the ninth against Simon Castro.
Cleveland had leadoff doubles in the sixth, seventh and eighth but failed to score.
The Indians last lost four in a row July 23-28, 2015 when they lost six straight. Cleveland had gone 312 games since then without a four-game losing streak — the third-longest stretch in major league history behind the 1931-33 New York Yankees (346) and the 1917-19 Indians (316).
Athletics: RHP Jharel Cotton will join teammate RHP Kendall Graveman on Wednesday at Triple-A Nashville in injury rehabilitation assignments. Cotton, who has been hindered by a blister, is expected to throw 65 pitches. ... INF/OF Chad Pinder rested his sore left hamstring Sunday but will run the bases and do additional baseball activities Monday. Manager Bob Melvin said Pinder could begin a rehab assignment soon.
Indians: RHP Josh Tomlin (5-9, 5.90 ERA) is to start Monday at San Francisco. He limited San Diego to two runs and four hits over seven innings on July 6.
Athletics: RHP Daniel Gossett (1-4, 6.23 ERA) is slated to pitch in Monday’s series opener at home against Tampa Bay. Gossett has allowed eight home runs over six starts but has walked only five during that span.