video thumbnail

CLE@OAK: DeJesus' homer gives A's the early lead

OAKLAND -- A's manager Bob Geren couldn't quite decide who to hand his gold star to following his club's 3-1 victory over the streaking Indians on Wednesday.

He had just watched Trevor Cahill hold baseball's winningest team to one run and five hits over seven gutsy innings. But he had also witnessed David DeJesus celebrate his first career multi-home run performance, all the while tallying half of Oakland's four hits.

"It was a tossup," Geren said.

Cahill's dominance on the mound has become typical, and expected in some sorts -- he's allowed one earned run or fewer in six of his seven starts this year. So for just a night, it was OK for the right-hander to share the limelight with DeJesus, whose feat was even more impressive given the fact he entered the day with a .227 average.

It marked his first and second homers as a member of the green and gold, and the first time he had tallied two home runs in one game at any level.

"It was kinda weird trotting two times around in one game," DeJesus said.

The A's outfielder had noted before Wednesday's contest that he felt he was inching closer to finding a groove at the plate. If his performance against Tribe starter Josh Tomlin was any indication of that feeling, DeJesus appears lost no more.

"It's been tough, but baseball's a long season," he said. "There's still plenty of time. I trust myself and the work I'm putting in. That's all you can really focus on."

"We felt he was coming close, was feeling good, and I guess I was right," Geren said. "Super job by David. We're a month into the season, and he's been around a .300 hitter his whole life. You knew he was going to hit, and today was the day to get him over the hump."

The party began early in the first, when DeJesus launched a 0-2 fastball into the right-field bleachers, before proceeding to carry another Tomlin four-seamer -- this time on a 2-1 count -- over the wall in right-center in the fourth.

"On the first home run, I just trusted my hands," he said. "I stayed loose, was down 0-2, was able to stay inside the ball and get it out. The next one, I stayed through the ball -- rather than coming around it or staying under it and popping it up. I was able to stay on top of it and drive it."

At that point, DeJesus' two home runs accounted for Oakland's only hits. And it stayed that way until the eighth, when Mark Ellis reached first on an error, advanced to third on a Cliff Pennington single, and scored on Coco Crisp's RBI base hit up the middle.

Cahill, meanwhile, compiled 13 ground-ball outs -- next to just two flyouts -- while striking out five and walking three en route to tossing a career-high 116 pitches, including 22 in the second and 24 in a third inning that produced Cleveland's lone run via an RBI single from Travis Hafner.

"Cahill was tough," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "I thought we did a very good job running his pitch count up, but still we couldn't get that big hit. He just had us beating the ball on the ground pretty much the whole night."

The young righty, according to Geren, looked tired after six, but he was sent out in the seventh knowing that, if a runner reached base or he looked done, his night would be over. Cahill responded with three quick outs.

"I was going to let him go as far as he could possibly go," Geren said. "He settled in and did a heck of a job. That's one of the best lineups in the league right now, as far as run production this season. He kept them at bay. He used a great sinker and a really nice changeup today."

In doing so, Cahill improved to 5-0 with a 1.79 ERA on the year, and halted Cleveland's winning streak at seven.

"I think, most pitchers, even if they're kinda tired, you want the ball," he said. "If you want to be good in this game, you have to have confidence in yourself to go out, even when you're a little tired.

"I think today I just threw a lot of changeups, and the last couple of innings threw a lot of curveballs to get ahead. Just trying to mix it up. I feel like they're a team that's winning a lot of games, all their hitters are hot, so I was trying to keep them off balance."

His teammates, at least those not named DeJesus, struggled to produce much of anything against Tomlin, who offered up just three hits through 7 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking none.

"We knew that with Trevor on the mound," DeJesus said, "two or three runs would be enough.

"It feels good. All the work I'm putting in is paying off, and the thing is you can't stop now, you just got to keep going." Comments