OAKLAND, Calif. -- Tyson Ross was right at home with family and friends enjoying a birthday celebration and making his second start of the season. His teammates helped give him the best gift of all.
Seth Smith hit a two-run homer, helping Ross get his first win in nearly a year as the Oakland Athletics avoided a series sweep with a 5-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday."I always seem to end up pitching on my birthday," said Ross, celebrating his 25th birthday. "This was definitely a good birthday. I'm kind of picking up where I left off before the injury last year."He did not pitch in the majors last season after May 20 because of a strained left oblique."The ability is there," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He was a high pick, he has good stuff and I've seen his confidence grow since spring training. It's a mindset that says 'here it comes.' That shows confidence in what he has."Cliff Pennington had two hits and drove in two runs for the A's, who ended a two-game slide and have won four of six. Kurt Suzuki also drove in a run."It was a nice day for a few of us to get going," Pennington said. "Any time you have a starting pitcher dealing like that you want to make an effort as an offense to get him the win."Ross (1-0) allowed a run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings. He walked a career-high five and struck out four while getting his first victory since last May 14 against the Chicago White Sox.Travis Hafner doubled in a run for the Indians, who were trying to start the season 8-1 on the road for the first time since 1910. Hafner reached base in 11 of his 14 plate appearances in the series."We had five leadoff walks and still couldn't do much with it," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "(Ross) kind of buckled up and made some good pitches after that and had us hitting into double plays a few times."Justin Masterson (0-2) gave up four runs on six hits over five innings and has allowed 17 runs over his last 13 2/3 innings. He walked six and struck out three. Masterson had walked six batters in his previous three starts combined."He struggled a little bit with his command, especially with two outs," Acta said. "There were a couple of walks that he gave away with two outs that kind of hurt him."Consecutive doubles from Shin-soo Choo and Hafner gave the Indians a 1-0 edge in the first.Ross caught Jack Hannahan trying to steal third in the second, ending another possible threat.It was all Athletics after Pennington doubled in a run in the third to tie the score. He had two hits in his previous 24 at-bats at home.Following a walk to Kila Ka'aihue leading off the fourth, Smith hit his third home run in six career games against the Indians, a two-run shot that sailed into the right-field bleachers."Home runs are always nice," Smith said. It felt good to connect."Suzuki added an RBI single in the fifth and Pennington beat out an infield single in the eighth, allowing Eric Sogard to score from second base.
The A's claimed IF Luke Hughes off waivers from Minnesota and transferred LHP Dallas Braden to the 60-day disabled list. ... Smith snapped a career-high 45-game homerless streak. ... RHP Derek Lowe (2-1, 3.50) makes his fourth start of the year for the Indians when they open a three-game series at home Tuesday against Kansas City. He is 4-5 in 23 appearances against the Royals. ... RHP Bartolo Colon (3-1, 2.36) makes the start for the A's Monday against the Chicago White Sox. Colon threw 38 straight strikes in his last outing and is working on a 15-inning scoreless streak. ... The A's played their third day game, fewest in the AL. ... Hafner reached base safely in 14 of his previous 17 plate appearances before hitting into a double play in the eighth. ... Ross became the first A's pitcher to win on his birthday since Todd Stottlemyre in 1995.