Indians 4, Athletics 2

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CLEVELAND (AP)—Always the showman, Omar Vizquel gave Indians fans a bonus gift to go with their souvenir rubber ducks.

Matt Lawton singled in the go-ahead run, and Vizquel squeezed in another run in the eighth inning Saturday night in the Indians’ 4-2 win over the Oakland Athletics.

Vizquel’s daring bunt came on Omar Vizquel Rubber Duck Night. Fans throughout Jacobs Field could be heard squeezing the small toys even before the shortstop dropped his squeeze down the first-base line as Lawton broke for home.

“A squeeze play with a squeeze rubber duck,” laughed Vizquel, being honored during the entire series on Omar Vizquel weekend. “It comes together, a two-in-one package.”

Terry Mulholland (1-1) got his first win since Sept. 13 despite giving up Erubiel Durazo’s tying homer in the eighth.

Danys Baez walked two in the ninth before striking out Eric Chavez and getting Miguel Tejada to ground into a force for his eighth save.

The A’s went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 runners.

“We got four hits last night and four again tonight,” Oakland manager Ken Macha said. “We’re not getting any offense. The bottom line is four hits.”

Josh Bard homered and John McDonald hit a sacrifice fly for the Indians, who have won five of their last eight and will go for a three-game sweep Sunday.

With the score tied 2-2, Lawton, in a season-long slump, hit a one-out single to right off former Indians reliever Ricardo Rincon (2-3) to score pinch-hitter Brandon Phillips, who had walked.

Lawton’s hit scooted under right fielder Terrence Long’s glove, allowing Lawton to go to third.

On his way to the plate, Vizquel told Indians manager Eric Wedge he was “ready for anything, even the squeeze. We executed it right.”

Lawton wasn’t expecting the bunt, even after being warned it was coming by third-base coach Joel Skinner.

“That’s my first ever,” Lawton said. “When Skinner told me, I was kind of surprised. I thought, `When do I go?”’

As Lawton broke for the plate, he could only hope that the switch-hitting Vizquel, batting right-handed against Rincon, would get his bat on the ball.

“I just treated it like a steal,” Lawton said. “It was a weird situation, but Omar had the hard part.”

Ricardo Rodriguez held the A’s to one run and three hits in six innings. He had lost his four starts and was pounded by Texas in his prior outing. However, the right-hander dominated the A’s before being pulled after 101 pitches.

Cleveland needed four relievers to get the through the seventh, with Jason Boyd preserving a 2-1 lead by getting Tejada on a comebacker with the bases loaded.

But Mulholland couldn’t get past one batter in the eighth as Durazo tied it with his sixth homer.

Rodriguez took a shutout into the sixth before the A’s scored on Durazo’s RBI double that missed being a two-run homer by inches.

After Rodriguez walked Tejada with two outs, Durazo hit a fly to center that hit near the top of the 19-foot-high wall—narrowly missing his sixth homer.

Durazo had better luck in the eighth, lining his homer over the wall in right.

Bard hit his first homer this season with two outs in the second, pulling a 1-2 pitch from John Halama over the wall in left. It was the rookie catcher’s first homer since connecting on Sept. 5 last season.

The Indians scratched out their second run in the fifth with Bard scoring on McDonald’s sacrifice fly.

Halama, who beat the Indians in his previous start, gave up two runs andfour hits in six innings.

Notes

Indians RHP Jason Bere struck out 11 in 6 2-3 innings during his final rehab start for Triple-A Buffalo. Bere, sidelined all season with a strained shoulder, struck out eight of the first nine batters, including a streak of seven in a row between the first and third innings. He is expected to join the Indians’ rotation next week. … Oakland has lost a series for the first time since April 14-17, snapping a streak of eight straight. … Vizquel made his sixth error, bobbling a grounder in the sixth. The nine-time Gold Glove winner had just seven errors in 151 games last year. … LF Eric Byrnes replaced 2B Mark Ellis in the leadoff spot for Oakland. Ellis, who has been the A’s No. 1 hitter 38 times this season, is batting just .164 (10-for-61) in his last 15 games and manager Ken Macha wanted to give him the night off. … Burks got his 400th career double in the fourth. … Indians OF Milton Bradley has reached base safely in 27 straight games—the longest active streak in the majors. …The Indians are 14-0 when leading after eight.

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