Zach McAllister allowed eight runs in only 1.1 innings of work in an 11-1 Indians loss to the Oakland Athletics Friday.
CLEVELAND -- There were plenty of fireworks that fans were able to enjoy following the Cleveland Indians' game against the Oakland Athletics on Friday night, but then, there were the fireworks during the game that those supporting the Tribe did not relish in watching.
The Athletics pounded on 13 hits, with two of the biggest, a grand slam from right fielder Josh Reddick and the three-run blast off the bat of Josh Donaldson, keying an eight-run inning that drove starter Zach McAllister out of the game, and paced Oakland (26-16) in their 11-1 win over the Indians (19-23).
"I fell behind and they were able to put balls in play," McAllister said after the loss, his fourth in his last five starts. "They hit some balls hard. I left balls over the middle when I was behind and they did the damage."
Indians manager Terry Francona added, "In the second inning of a game, you want to give a guy a chance to get through, maybe gather himself. Even if you go four, you're not into your bullpen in the second inning, but it just wasn't happening."
Despite striking out the side and setting down the Athletics, one-two-three, in the first inning, McAllister gave up three walks, five hits and was charged with eight earned runs in 1.1 innings of work, his shortest outing of the season.
In his last four outings, McAllister has pitched beyond the fifth inning only once, in a no decision against the Minnesota Twins on May 5.
"I know I haven't pitched my best," McAllister said. "I know I got off to a much better start than I am right now, and I think that's part of baseball. Obviously, you're going to have some peaks and valleys. Right now, I'm down as far as the way I've been pitching, and I've got to get back up to that middle ground and pitch better."
Francona added, "The first inning, he came out really good, threw some of the better breaking balls that we had seen, kind of had some power to it. Then, in the second inning, he lost the feel for his off-speed and he wasn't locating his fastball. Obviously, it created a really tough inning."
Although McAllister has struggled as of late, Francona expects the 6-foot-6, 240-pound right-hander from Chillicothe, Ill., to right himself quickly, as he will likely pitch against American League Central Division foes, the Detroit Tigers and at the Chicago White Sox, in his next two outings.
"I said something during the game, that he's going to have to be strong enough to look at the numbers right now, and they're not where he wants them to be, almost like a hitter that's hitting lower, and remember how good he is, stay in the moment and go to the next game," Francona said.
"Whatever happens, happened, and he's got to be strong enough mentally to understand that he is a good pitcher, and it might take him a while to get that ERA where he's comfortable, but that doesn't mean he can't win."
While McAllister struggled and had a short day's work, his counterpart, Oakland ace Sonny Gray allowed only two hits and one run, on a first-inning solo home run off the bat of Indians first baseman Nick Swisher.
Although he allowed three walks, Gray struck out nine Indians, and lowered his earned run average from 2.17 to 2.10.
"You know what, he's a pretty special pitcher," Francona said. "He's not the biggest guy in the world, but he can cut it, sink it, breaking ball. A lot of our thinking today was, 'Hey, when you get the first fastball, and it's middle, go ahead and whack it because he doesn't give you much after that.'
"When you get a lead like that, that kind of plays right into (it). After the first time through the order, he'd get two strikes and just put us away. He's got so many weapons. The big breaking ball, he's got a fastball with movement. He commands so well."