OAKLAND, Calif. — — Eli Morgan‘s first career save called for a celebratory beer shower — and the Cleveland Guardians sure had to work to win this one.
José Ramírez hit a go-ahead single in the 10th inning after his RBI triple in the eighth gave Cleveland the lead, and the Guardians rallied to beat the Oakland Athletics 12-11 on Monday night.
Cleveland added an insurance run on a wild pitch by Trevor May (1-1), which the Guardians needed when Oakland got one back in the bottom of the 10th on Esteury Ruiz‘s double.
“That was a hard game to win for a lot of reasons,” manager Terry Francona said. “We got down, we got up, we got down, they fought back. I give them a lot of credit, and you’re on the road so you’re always a swing away. But we did enough to win, and that’s what we set out to do so it makes for a good day.”
Seth Brown hit a tying, two-run homer with two outs in the ninth off Cleveland closer Emmanuel Clase (1-0).
Brown struck out on an automatic strike in Oakland’s five-run second for a pitch-clock violation charged to the batter for taking too much time on a windy, unseasonably chilly April night in the Bay Area. He also was thrown out at the plate by right fielder Will Brennan to end the seventh.
“We have that energy where we know we’re not going to lose the game,” Brennan said. “You can feel that in the stadium, you can feel that in the lineup, and every play dictates that. We know that we’re not going to lose the game, and we’re not out of every game.”
Josh Naylor homered leading off the fourth and hit an RBI single for the Guardians, who won their fourth straight after losing at Seattle on opening day.
The reigning AL Central champions established a methodical way of winning last year on the way to 92 victories, even when they might have seemed out of a game.
“Playing our game of baseball. We’re going to see pitches, we’re going to put up good at-bats, we’re not going to swing when it’s not the right moment,” Cleveland starter Zach Plesac said. “Little things like that, playing the game the right way. Tito does such a good job of just instilling those things into our guys and we just live and die by it. It definitely worked today, it worked last year and we’re going to continue to push.”
Jace Peterson hit a three-run homer in the second and Ramón Laureano added a two-run drive in the fifth, but the A’s squandered an early 6-2 lead for James Kaprielian. Oakland rookie Ryan Noda doubled and singled while making his first career start playing first base.
Xzavion Curry pitched five innings in relief of Plesac, who was knocked out after allowing six runs on seven hits in one inning. James Karinchak pitched the eighth, then Clase blew the save. He wound up with the win, and Morgan finished a game that took 3 hours, 19 minutes.
It was a tough season debut for Plesac, who endured a 12-start winless stretch over more than two months last year in which he went 0-7. He finished 3-12 after a 10-6 record in 2021.
The A’s have lost three in a row since beating the Angels on opening day. Oakland has lost six straight at home to the Guardians to match its longest skid ever at the Coliseum against Cleveland, which lasted from 1994 to 1995.
“The frustration level’s at a 10. It’s a ballgame we should win,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “We gave them five unearned runs. We talked about it all spring training that this ballclub needs to play good defense and we weren’t able to do that tonight.”
The A’s dropped the season series with Cleveland last year for the first time since 2016, going 1-6 for their worst mark since losing all seven matchups in 1995.
Athletics: RHP Paul Blackburn, recovering from a right middle fingernail that tore off, threw a two-inning side session of 40 pitches and is likely headed to Class A Stockton to begin a rehab program.
RHP Shane Bieber pitches Tuesday night for the Guardians opposite Oakland LHP JP Sears.
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