Jack Hannanan singled home pinch runner Cord Phelps in the 16th inning after hitting two solo home runs earlier in the game to push Cleveland to a 4-3 win over Oakland and give the Indians their first 3-game win streak since June 29-July 2.
Frank Herrmann, (4-0) the sixth Cleveland pitcher, retired all 12 batters he faced over the final four innings for the win before very few of the 15,202 who were at Progressive Field at the start.
Cleveland used the win to stay 5-1/2 games behind Detroit, which defeated Kansas City, 5-4 The Indians led twice in the first two innings before Oakland scored single runs in the second, third and fourth for a 3-2 lead.
The Tribe, which moved back into second place ahead of Chicago, a 7-6 loser to Minnesota, tied the game at 3-3 with Hannahan’s second home run of the game that hit the right field foul pole with one out in the sixth off Oakland starter Rich Harden.
Neither team scored for the next nine innings until Hannahan’s third hit of the night drove home Phelps in the 16th. Phelps ran for Jim Thome after the Cleveland designated hitter singled with one out. Carlos Santana then singled to move Phelps to second, setting up Hannahan, who singled to right for his third RBI of the night.
Cleveland, which went 51 games since its last 3-game win streak, opened the scoring in the first when Ezequiel Carrera led off with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by Kosuke Fukudome.
The A’s, losers of five straight, tied the game in the second when Scott Sizemore walked with the bases loaded. Cleveland starter Ubaldo Jimenez allowed singles to Josh Willingham and Brandon Allen but got the next two hitters before back-to-back walks to Kurt Suzuki and Sizemore allowed the A’s to tie the game which lasted 5-hours, 2-minutes.
The Tribe held a 2-1 lead on Hannahan’s first home run of the night leading off the second only to see Oakland bounce back in the third when Allen’s two-out single scored Josh Pennignton, who had led off with a double and stole third with two outs.
Oakland took its only lead of the night at 3-2 when Suzuki homered to left with one out in the fourth.
Outstanding relief pitching took over the rest of the way after Harden and Jimenez had identical pitching lines. Both went went 6.0 innings, giving up three runs on six hits with a pair of walks with six strike outs.
After Craig Breslow allowed a single to Lou Marson to lead off the seventh, the A’s pitching retired the next 24 Cleveland hitters. The streak did not end until Jason Donald led off the 15th with a double off Josh Outman, (3-4) who an inning later gave up the game winning hit to Hannahan. Donald advanced to third with one out but failed to score when Outman retired Marson on strikes, walked Carrera and stuck out Fukudome to end the threat.
Oakland pitching struck out 19 Cleveland batters with Thome, Marson and Cabrera each striking out three times while Indian pitchers struck out 15 A’s with Allen going down three times for Oakland.
Cleveland, which used five relief pitchers, who tossed 10 innings of scoreless baseball, saw Oakland get at least one base runner in each inning from the seventh through the 12th, including the A’s loading the bases in the 12th against Chad Dubbin.
Pennington led off with an infield single but was erased on a fielder’s choice by Coco Crisp. Josh Willingham followed with a double off the third base bag and Allen was intenitionally walked to load the bases. Durbin then struck out Allen and got David DeJesus to pop out to end the inning.
Cleveland concludes its 11-game home stand at noon Wednesday with the fourth and final game with Oakland. The Indians enter that game 6-4 in the previous 10 at Progressive Field.