CLEVELAND (AP)—C.C. Sabathia wanted no distractions this season, putting contract negotiations on hold until after it’s over.
The reigning AL Cy Young winner is bringing them on himself anyway.
“It’s definitely frustrating, not being able to go out and do your job,” said Sabathia, who requested during spring training that negotiations be tabled so he could focus on pitching.
“I just (stink) right now and (am) not making good pitches,” Sabathia said. “I feel great, so there’s no excuses.”
Sabathia (0-2) was pulled after 3 1-3 innings, but by then Mark Ellis, Mike Sweeney and Donnie Murphy had all driven in two runs apiece. It was Sabathia’s shortest start since yielding nine runs in 2 1-3 innings to the Chicago Cubs on June 21, 2006.
“I’ve been here before,” Sabathia said of his struggles. “I will get this turned around.”
Joe Blanton (1-2) allowed eight hits and five runs over 7 2-3 innings to win for the first time in six starts since last Sept. 15. The right-hander walked one, struck out one and was helped by two double plays. Huston Street worked 1 1-3 innings for his third save.
Street got the final out in the eighth after Cleveland scored six runs off four pitchers in an inning that was interrupted by rain for 59 minutes.
Sabathia was 19-7 with a 3.21 ERA last season, becoming Cleveland’s first Cy Young winner since Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry in 1972. But the start of this season has been dreadful: He has an 11.57 ERA in 14 innings over three starts, losing twice in one week to Oakland.
“That’s not an easy feat against someone as good as he is,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said. “Every hitter in the lineup got a hit and a couple guys who haven’t played much contributed.”
Sabathia’s third straight poor start—fifth in a row if two terrible outings against Boston in last fall’s AL Championship Series are included—had Cleveland fans booing the left-hander.
It came one night after the Indians signed right-hander Fausto Carmona through 2014, a move made in case they can’t keep Sabathia, who rejected the club’s preliminary offer over the winter. He is eligible for free agency in the fall.
The A’s came in hitting .192 against lefties, but went 12-for-19 (.632) against Sabathia, whose career record against them fell to 2-7 with a 6.84 ERA.
“The way I was tonight, it could have been any team and the result would have been the same,” Sabathia said.
Sweeney had an RBI single in the first and sacrifice fly in the second, when Oakland accumulated two walks, three singles, three doubles and five runs.
“It was tough to come into the dugout after that and see the whole team deflated,” Sabathia said. “I feel bad.”
Jhonny Peralta hit his third homer in the bottom half to make it 6-1.
Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore robbed Ellis of extra bases with a leaping catch at the wall in the third, but the sacrifice fly made it 7-1.
“It would’ve been great to pick up C.C.,” Garko said. “He’s not going to have too many days like this.”
There is speculation the Indians might move their Triple-A team from Buffalo after this season for a new ballpark being in built in Columbus. GM Mark Shapiro said only that a decision would be made in the fall. … Indians RHP Paul Byrd expressed relief at the amnesty granted players implicated in the Mitchell Report. He admitted last fall to using HGH for a medical condition. … Oakland C Travis Buck sat out with shin splints. … Crosby has reached base in all 11 games. … Sweeney improved his career average against Cleveland to .311 (148-for-476) with 24 homers and 94 RBIs in 132 games.