Indians suffer fifth straight loss as Trevor Cahill stays hot for A's

CLEVELAND -- Trevor Cahill didn't need his best stuff to put together another strong start for Oakland's overwhelming pitching staff.

Cahill (14-5) pitched seven strong innings to beat Cleveland 6-1 on Wednesday night, handing the Indians their fifth straight loss. The right-hander was helped by three double plays as he improved to 5-1 with a 0.77 ERA in six starts since July 28.

"Cahill is one of the top guys right now," said Indians manager Manny Acta, who was very impressed by the 22-year-old right-hander. "He kept us hitting the ball on the ground the whole night."

Kevin Kouzmanoff lined a three-run double to cap Oakland's five-run first inning off Mitch Talbot (8-11).

"You don't want to be five down before you swing the bat, especially facing a guy who's competing for the Cy Young," Acta said. "That put us in a big hole."

Kouzmanoff broke a 4 for 42 slump (.095) with the shot off the center-field wall.

"I just wanted to see the ball and hit it," said Kouzmanoff, who hit a grand slam on the first pitch thrown to him when he debuted for the Indians in 2005. "I knew I hit it good, but it wasn't one of those where you know it's just gone."

Jack Cust gave the Athletics a 1-0 lead with an RBI single grounded between first and second. After Mark Ellis walked to load the bases, Rajai Davis grounded a single between third and short to make it 2-0.

The speedy Davis nearly caught Ellis rounding the bases on Kouzmanoff's drive. When Ellis slid in ahead of the late throw, Davis had to tiptoe to the plate to avoid steamrolling his teammate.

"I didn't see that and I'm glad I didn't," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "I was watching the throw."

Cleveland's first batter reached safely in each of the first six innings, but the Indians lost for the 13th time in 16 games. They have totaled four runs and hit only .168 (27 for 161) during their five-game skid.

The Indians struck out eight times -- each of their last eight outs. Cahill fanned the last two men he faced, Craig Breslow got three strikeouts and allowed one hit in the eighth and Henry Rodriguez struck out the side in the ninth on 10 pitches -- twice hitting 100 mph and six times registering 101 on the radar gun.

"It's really fun to watch him get better each time out," Cahill said of the hard-throwing rookie right-hander. "He's throwing 100-plus and painting his curve or slider on the corners."

Cahill gave up seven hits as Oakland had a starter work at least six innings for the 23rd consecutive game, two short of the club record set in 1980. The Athletics' staff has given up five or fewer runs in all those games, longest in the AL since Kansas City's 25-game streak in 1980.

"Everybody here knows what we are capable of doing and it is all kind of coming together," Cahill said.

Oakland starters have not allowed more than three runs in 17 consecutive games, longest by the franchise since the 1927 Philadelphia Athletics did it 18 times in a row.

The Indians' unearned run in the fifth ruined the Athletics' bid for a fifth shutout in eight games this year against Cleveland, which has been outscored 43-13 in going 2-6 against Oakland. It was Cleveland's first run in 22 innings, since the first inning Sunday in Detroit.

Jason Donald reached when his grounder went through Kouzmanoff's legs at third. Two outs later, Asdrubal Cabrera singled home Donald from second base, but was retired in a rundown that was scored 9-2-6-3-5.

Kouzmanoff tripled to lead off the sixth and scored on a sacrifice fly by Gabe Gross to make it 6-1.

Talbot gave up six hits and six runs over six innings to drop to 0-5 in eight starts since his last victory, June 27 over Cincinnati in an interleague game. The right-hander, in his third start since spending the first half of August on the disabled list with a strained back, walked three and struck out two.

Game notes
Oakland C Kurt Suzuki went 0 for 4, has an 0 for 15 streak and is hitting .130, 9 for 69, in August. ... Indians OF Michael Brantley went 1 for 4 in his first game after missing four games with a sprained left ankle. ... Cust went 2 for 4 and has hit .337 (32 for 95) with eight homers and 27 RBIs in 28 career games against Cleveland, including 8 for 15 (.533) in five games this year. ... OF Shin-Soo Choo had three of Cleveland's eight hits and is hitting .455, 10 for 22 against the Athletics this season. ... Oakland 1B Daric Barton walked twice and leads the AL with 80.