By BRIAN DULIK
CLEVELAND (AP) — José Ramírez doubled twice, then homered to begin a three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Cleveland Guardians sent Oakland to its 10th straight loss, beating the Athletics 3-2 on Friday night.
The A’s are stuck in their first double-digit skid since 2011 and have been outscored 60-20 during the streak. Oakland has the worst record in the American League at 20-40 and has not won since May 29 against Texas.
“Every time you think you’re going to get a break, they generally don’t go your way,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “It’s never easy getting out of these situations. You have to earn them yourself.”
Ramírez, who leads the majors with 56 RBIs, hit his 16th homer to lead off the ninth against Dany Jiménez (2-4). Cleveland then loaded the bases with no outs and Owen Miller delivered the tying sacrifice fly.
Sam Moll relieved and gave up an infield single to Steven Kwan that again loaded the bases. Luke Maile followed with a sacrifice fly that scored rookie Oscar Gonzalez, setting off a celebration in the rain that unexpectedly arrived during the inning.
“José is the best player in baseball, I’ve said it 50 times,” Guardians designated hitter Josh Naylor said. “He’s incredibly clutch. When he comes up in a close game, you know something is going to go down. He’s incredible.”
Ramírez was the only baserunner to get past second until the ninth for the young Guardians, who have won nine of 11 and moved two games above .500.
Gonzalez went 1 for 4, giving him hits in 13 of his first 14 career games. Roger Maris held the previous Cleveland franchise mark with 12.
“Sometimes you just get out of their way because you don’t want to make them nervous,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “We’re going up against some men and we’ve got some kids, and they’re doing OK.”
Oakland right-hander Paul Blackburn pitched eight shutout innings in the longest outing of his career, allowing four hits and striking out three to lower his road ERA to 0.93.
Converted outfielder Anthony Gose (2-0) struck out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth. Cleveland starter Triston McKenzie worked six innings, allowing solo homers by Seth Brown and Sean Murphy.
Brown homered in the first and Murphy went deep in the second. The A’s have 37 home runs — the second fewest in baseball — and only managed five hits to drop their league-low batting average to .209.
“That’s a good team and they’re hot right now,” Blackburn said. “Times like this are tough for anybody, but you try to come in every day with a clear mind and not look at any streak.”
Athletics RHP Lou Trivino, who posted a team-high 22 saves in 2021, is tied for the most losses by a reliever in the American League with five. The deposed closer has a 9.20 ERA in 21 appearances this season, allowing 15 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings. “Lou is one of the guys in the bullpen that we need to have success,” Kotsay said. “And he’s had it here before.”
Athletics: 2B Jed Lowrie (wrist, shoulder soreness) was not in the lineup after being involved in an collision on the bases Thursday. Kotsay said Lowrie “is pretty sore and has been in for treatment, but there is no guarantee he’ll be available off the bench.” Lowrie has gone hitless in nine straight at-bats as part of a 5-for-42 slump.
Guardians: RHP Aaron Civale (left gluteal soreness), who was injured May 20 against Detroit, will make a second rehab start for Triple-A Columbus. Civale threw 50 pitches in two innings Thursday, allowing two runs at Indianapolis. “By his account, Aaron was a little rusty, so he’ll pitch again in five days,” manager Terry Francona said.
Athletics: RHP Frankie Montas (2-6, 3.06 ERA) seeks to stop his career-long losing streak at five. Montas has a 2.87 ERA and is holding opponents to a .214 average over his past nine starts, but has not earned a win.
Guardians: RHP Zach Plesac (2-4, 4.72 ERA) has one win in his last seven starts, striking out eight over six innings in a 3-2 victory at Baltimore on June 5. Plesac has a 1-3 record with a 6.21 ERA during the timeframe.
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