Carmona struggles with placement, walks eight in loss to A's

CLEVELAND (AP) -- The Cleveland Indians might have expected a little better return on their investment in Fausto Carmona.

Two nights after signing a four-year, $15 million contract, the Indians' right-hander walked a career-high eight over 3 1/3 innings in a 7-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics.

Bobby Crosby hit a three-run homer off reliever Rafael Perez for the Athletics, who took advantage of 10 walks overall and won their fifth in a row.

"You have to be patient with him," Crosby said of Carmona (1-1). "He has some of the best stuff in the game. You have to wait him out and hope he makes a mistake."

The A's refrained from swinging at Carmona's sharp sinker, which kept darting out of the strike zone.

"I could feel my arm being away, out from my body, and dragging behind," Carmona said through first-base coach Luis Rivera, who served as an interpreter. "I will work on it in the bullpen, not let it get in my head and bother me, and make sure it doesn't happen again."

Lenny DiNardo (1-0), starting in place of injured Rich Harden, gave up two runs on six hits over five-plus innings for his first win since last Aug. 19. The soft-tossing left-hander struck out two without issuing a walk, leaving with two on in the sixth.

"That was a really big performance by Lenny DiNardo," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "We really needed that."

Harden is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list April 18. He is sidelined by a strained right shoulder.

A year ago, Carmona and left-hander C.C. Sabathia each won 19 games to help Cleveland win the AL Central. But one night after Sabathia was pounded for nine runs and 12 hits in only 3 1/3 innings, Carmona became the first Cleveland starter to walk eight in a game since Bob Ojeda did it in six innings against the New York Yankees on Aug. 26, 1993.

"To face those two guys and beat them, it's a good feeling," Crosby said. "We're playing well. I'm happy with where we are."

Carmona got double plays after walks in the second and third innings, but his luck didn't continue. With two out in the third, he walked Travis Buck, who went to third on a double by Mark Ellis. Both scored on Daric Barton's line single to left to make it 2-0.

"Fausto had trouble finding it tonight," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "The more he worked hard to find it, the more he couldn't."

Franklin Gutierrez broke a 1-for-23 slump with a double to open the bottom half, advanced on a groundout and scored on another to make it 2-1.

Carmona came apart in the fourth, walking four of the five men he faced. Jensen Lewis came on, struck out Buck and got Ellis to pop to second to preserve a 3-1 lead.

"Jensen gave us a chance to win the ballgame," Wedge said. "That was a great effort right there."

Pinch-hitter David Dellucci's bases-loaded walk off reliever Joey Devine pulled Cleveland within 3-2 in sixth.

But Perez walked Barton to open the seventh, yielded a single to Mike Sweeney and an RBI single to pinch-hitter Emil Brown before Crosby connected for his first homer and a 7-2 lead.

"You put yourself behind the 8-ball when you walk the leadoff guy," Wedge said. "You give a team a sense that, 'We can do something here.' They did."

Grady Sizemore's sacrifice fly in the ninth made it 7-3.

Game notes
Oakland won the first two games of the three-game series. The Indians had won seven consecutive home series since being swept by the Yankees last Aug. 10-12. ... Oakland OF Ryan Sweeney left in the fourth with a strained right quad. Geren said Sweeney was doubtful for Sunday's game. ... Buck went 0-for-3 with two walks after missing one game with shin splints. ... Gutierrez failed in two key situations, striking out with two on to end the fourth and popping out to right with the bases loaded in the sixth. ... Garko broke a 3-for-16 (.188) slump by going 2-for-3. ... Crosby's homer was his first in Cleveland. Boston's Fenway Park is the only AL field where the shortstop has yet to hit a homer.