CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians finished 12th in the American League in home runs last year, but they have been hitting them in bunches this season.
The Indians, who are tied for the league lead in home runs, bunched two home runs in a three-batter span in the sixth inning Wednesday night and that was the difference in a 4-3 victory over the Oakland A's. It's the Indians ninth win in their last 10 games and they are 7-1 on a home stand that will end on Thursday.
With the Indians trailing 3-2 with one out in the sixth inning, Nick Swisher belted his fourth home run into the seats in center field. Two batters later Carlos Santana clubbed his seventh homer, also a solo shot over the wall in center.
That gave Cleveland a 4-3 lead and that was enough for starter Justin Masterson and the Cleveland bullpen. Masterson pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on four hits while striking out seven with two walks. He improved his record to 5-2.
Reliever Joe Smith pitched a scoreless eighth inning and closer Chris Perez worked the ninth to pick up his fifth save. Perez almost had a blown save as, with two outs, Adam Rosales hit a long fly ball that appeared to hit the railing above the left-field wall, which would have been a home run.
After a video review, the umpires ruled it a double and not a home run. A's manager Bob Melvin immediately argued the ruling and was ejected from the game.
The Indians scored four runs on three hits in the fifth and sixth innings and were held scoreless on three hits in the other six innings.
Oakland scored all of its runs in the fourth inning, but Cleveland pitchers shut down the A's offense after that. Masterson and the two relievers held Oakland scoreless on two hits over the last five innings.
A's starter A.J. Griffin gave up four runs in six innings and took the loss. He is 3-3.
Masterson breezed through the Oakland lineup in the first three innings, retiring nine of the first 10 batters he faced, but the second time through the order he struggled.
Oakland scored three runs in the fourth inning, in which Masterson hit a batter and gave up four hits. Brandon Moss singled home one run and Daric Barton, called up from Class AAA Sacramento earlier in the day, added a two-out, two-run single to give the A's a 3-0 lead.
Griffin, in his first career appearance vs. Cleveland, held the Indians scoreless on two hits through the first four innings, but in the fifth Cleveland scored two runs on one hit, two walks and an error to cut the Oakland lead to 3-2.
NOTES: The A's placed outfielder Josh Reddick on the disabled list with a sprained right wrist. Reddick is hitting .152 with one home run and 14 RBI. ... First baseman Daric Barton's contract was purchased from Sacramento by the A's. Barton was hitting .287 with 3 home runs and 21 RBI at Sacramento. ... Indians left-hander Scott Kazmir will start Thursday against Oakland, the team he has beaten more than any other team in his career. Kazmir is 9-5 in 17 career starts vs. the A's. ... Outfielder Michael Bourn played his second game on a rehab assignment at Class AAA Columbus Tuesday. Bourn, who has been on the DL since April 15 with a lacerated right index finger, could be activated in the coming days.