CLEVELAND -- For most of the first month of the season, the Cleveland Indians' starting rotation was a mess. Not anymore.
On Tuesday night, Zach McAllister became the latest Indians pitcher to turn in a quality start, pitching 7 2/3 scoreless innings as the Indians edged the Oakland A's 1-0.
In anchoring a shutout of an Oakland team that leads the American League in runs scored, McAllister struck out four and walked one, and 74 of his 111 pitches were strikes.
"I got ahead of a lot of hitters and when you do that it gets you into a good rhythm," McAllister said.
Indians manager Terry Francona said, "He threw a lot of first-pitch strikes. He only went to a 2-0 count on one hitter. He ran the game."
The Indians have been getting a lot of that out of their rotation lately. In their last nine games, Cleveland's starting pitchers are 7-1 with a 2.50 ERA.
"It's exciting. Every one of us wants to pitch better than the guy in front of him. It's a friendly competition," McAllister said.
The Indians have now won eight of their last nine games and they are 6-1 on their current homestand, which still has two games left against Oakland.
McAllister needed to be as good as he was because Oakland starter Tommy Milone was just as stingy, pitching seven innings and allowing one unearned run and five hits.
The Indians had scored six or more runs in all of their wins during their streak, but Milone shut down the Cleveland offense.
The Indians' only run was unearned in the fifth inning. Milone (3-4) struck out five and did not walk a batter but still was tagged with the loss.
"I was able to make some pitches and got into a rhythm," Milone said.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin said, "He pitched great. It's disappointing you can't get him a run or two to get him a win."
McAllister improved his record to 3-3. Cleveland closer Chris Perez pitched the ninth to pick up his fourth save.
Perez got a big assist in the ninth from catcher Yan Gomes. After retiring the first hitter in the inning, Perez gave up a single to Yoenis Cespedes. Then Cespedes tried to steal second, but Gomes made a quick and accurate throw to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to easily retire the sliding Cespedes.
"When a player makes a play like that with the game on the line, it's really exciting," Francona said.
Perez struck out Brandon Moss to end the game.
McAllister and Milone pitched to a standoff in the first four innings. McAllister held Oakland scoreless on one hit and Milone held Cleveland scoreless on two hits.
The Indians had their leadoff hitter reach base in four consecutive innings from the third through the sixth, but they were only able to score one run.
In the fourth, Jason Kipnis led off with a double but was thrown out trying to steal third base, a play that grew in importance when Nick Swisher singled later in the inning.
The Indians scored the only run of the game in the fifth, thanks to some shoddy defense by Oakland. Carlos Santana, leading off the inning, reached second after Moss and second baseman Eric Sogard both made errors on the same batted ball.
Moss booted Santana's grounder and the ball ricocheted to Sogard, who threw wildly to Milone covering first. The ball sailed into foul territory, allowing Santana to advance to second.
"As a first baseman, when a ball is hit to your right, your instincts tell you to go for it," Melvin said. "Now, Brandon also has got to know his limitations, but that's a play you're going to try and make. Then Sogey (Eric Sogard) tries to make a throw to Milone and that didn't turn out too good."
Santana went to third on a single by Mike Aviles and scored on a sacrifice fly by Gomes, giving Cleveland a 1-0 lead that it maintained the rest of the way.
NOTES: Left fielder Michael Brantley, who had started 28 of Cleveland's first 29 games, was given a day off, although he enterrf the game in the ninth inning as a defensive replacement. . . Indians right-hander Justin Masterson will start Wednesday against Oakland, a team against whom he has traditionally struggled, going 1-5 with a 10.36 ERA in six career starts. ... A's outfielder Josh Reddick was not in the starting lineup because of a sore right wrist. Reddick is not expected to play in the remaining two games of the series. ... A's pitcher Jarrod Parker, who was removed from Monday's game after five innings with a neck strain, will throw a bullpen session Wednesday and a decision will then be made on whether or not he will make his next start.