The Athletics, with the status of two of their most productive hitters uncertain, look to bounce back from their first loss to the Indians in seven games as the teams conclude a three-game set Sunday at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
Playing without Suzuki and Kouzmanoff, Oakland (11-8) went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position Saturday en route to a 6-1 defeat to Cleveland (8-9). The Athletics had seven hits - none for extra bases.
In the teams’ previous three meetings, including a 10-0 win Friday, the A’s had totaled 29 runs and 43 hits.
Kouzmanoff sat out Saturday after fouling a ball off his right foot in the series opener, when he drove in two runs to snap a 1-for-17 slump with runners in scoring position.
“It’s sore. I don’t think it’s anything more than that,” manager Bob Geren told the A’s official website. “He hit it pretty hard. I don’t think it’s anything more than a bruise.”
Kouzmanoff, who had 18 homers and a career-best 88 RBIs last season, also has a sore right calf. With an off day Monday, Geren is considering resting Kouzmanoff again to give him a total of three days to heal.
Suzuki, who leads the A’s with four homers, was a late scratch due to a sore left side. The catcher had started 16 of Oakland’s previous 18 games.
Jake Fox(notes) started in his place, and may end up being Gio Gonzalez’s(notes) batterymate Sunday. Gonzalez (1-1, 5.40 ERA) is coming off the worst of his three outings in 2010, allowing five runs and walking five in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-3 loss to the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.
The left-hander is 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA in two career starts versus the Indians.
Cleveland will counter with Justin Masterson(notes) (0-2, 3.00), who has given up nine runs over his last two starts, but only four of them have been earned. The right-hander yielded five runs - two earned - in four innings against Minnesota on Tuesday night as the Indians lost 5-1.
Masterson struck out six, giving him 20 in 15 innings. He is 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA in one start and four relief appearances against Oakland.
Cleveland got an outstanding performance Saturday from starting pitcher Fausto Carmona(notes), who limited the A’s to one run in 7 1-3 innings, to tie the series. The Indians have won six of nine overall following a poor start.
Cleveland also broke out of a scoring slump, going 5 for 11 with runners in scoring position after being held to one run or none in three of its previous four contests.