Dan Haren limited Cleveland to four singles in 6 2-3 innings and pushed Oakland higher in the AL wild-card standings as the Athletics beat Cleveland 2-0 Monday, ending the Indians’ seven-game winning streak.
Haren made sure the A’s took the opener of a three-game series they can’t afford to lose. With the win, Oakland, a major league-best 36-20 since the All-Star break, pulled within 1 1/2 games of Cleveland.
“By far, it’s the happiest I’ve been after a win all year,” Haren said.
Oakland manager Ken Macha treated the game as if it were already October. In the eighth inning, he used four pitchers as Kiko Calero, Ricardo Rincon, Justin Duchscherer and rookie Huston Street preserved the shutout.
“We used a lot of pitchers,” Macha said. “I needed to make sure we got 27 outs and the ballgame. If it takes 10 pitchers, then let’s do it.”
Cleveland, 19-7 since Aug. 16, has a one-game edge over the idle New York Yankees, who open a three-game set on Tuesday at Tampa Bay.
The Indians’ offense was unstoppable last week during the team’s seven-game run.
Cleveland’s hitters, however, have not fared nearly as well when Kevin Millwood is on the mound.
Despite an AL-leading 3.11 ERA, Millwood is only 7-11 this season. He’s allowed two runs or less in nine of his last 11 starts.
Millwood’s ability to wriggle out of difficult situations has amazed Cleveland manager Eric Wedge all season.
“It’s nothing like I’ve ever seen,” Wedge said. “He’s tough. He’s been doing that all year.”