Created on Monday, 19 May 2014 Written by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Indians are looking for answers to turn around their season.
Sunday's 13-3 loss to Oakland was Cleveland's fourth straight and sixth in its past eight games.
The defeat also completed a three-game sweep in which the Indians were outscored 30-6.
Manager Terry Francona, who made several lineup changes before the game, is still searching for solutions to get his team, which is in last place in the AL Central, going in the right direction.
"What we're doing right now is not good enough, we've got to play better," he said. "That's on me. I need to have better answers and have our guys more prepared. And we will."
After playing three games against the leaders in the AL West, it won't get any easier with Detroit, which is in first place in the Central, coming to town for a three-game series starting Monday.
The Indians realize they're heading into that matchup on a down note.
"We got beat in every facet of the game — pitching, defense, timely hitting," said outfielder Michael Bourn, whose leadoff homer in the first gave the Indians a short-lived lead. "We got embarrassed on our home field. We've got to find a way to fix it and fix it fast."
Nothing went right for the Indians all weekend. Justin Masterson (2-3) gave up seven runs in 4 1-3 innings, including four in the fifth. He walked five batters and struck out one.
The right-hander struggled with his command all day, but it completely fell apart in the fifth when the Athletics built their lead to 7-1.
"I don't have a lot of good words," Masterson said. "Real frustrated."
Yoenis Cespedes, who had a career-high five RBIs, hit consecutive doubles to drive in four runs. Josh Donaldson, with another RBI Sunday, had seven for the series.
The Athletics added two runs in the sixth, one in the seventh and three more in the eighth.
Francona attempted to inject some life into his struggling offense, dropping Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana in the order. Swisher, the No. 2 hitter for most of the season, was moved to the sixth spot. Carlos Santana batted seventh after hitting cleanup in all 42 of his previous starts.
Santana was hitless in four at-bats while Swisher was 0 for 5 and committed an error in the seventh. Swisher fielded a routine grounder to end the inning and was given a sarcastic cheer by the small crowd of 14,872.
Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall also had an error, giving the Indians a major-league high 45.
Francona has been reluctant to make changes to the lineup, but thinks the time has finally come.
"This is not a lineup that's going to be in place for the rest of the year, but the hope is it can help maybe jump start us a little bit and make it a little easier for the guys who have struggled," he said.
The changes didn't matter much against Jesse Chavez (4-1), who gave up two runs in five innings.
Bourn led off the first with a home run, and Michael Brantley added another solo shot in the fifth, extending his home hitting streak to 15 games. Brantley walked with the bases loaded in the sixth.
The Indians have scored three or fewer runs 24 times in 44 games.
Cleveland couldn't have looked much worse in the series. On Friday, Zach McAllister struck out the side in the first, only to be knocked out in the second after giving up eight runs. The Indians had three more errors in Saturday's loss.
The Indians scored first in all three games, but were no match for Oakland, which leads the AL West with a 28-16 record.
"We just have to pitch and play defense," Bourn said. "Hitting comes around, but when you talk about being a good team, pitching and defense always wins games."
NOTES: The Indians have scored first in five of their past six games, but are just 1-5 in that stretch. ... Bourn's homer was the eighth of his career leading off a game and the first for the Indians this season. ... SS Asdrubal Cabrera had the day off. ... RHP John Axford, moved out of the closer's role last week, retired both batters he faced and has made four straight scoreless appearances.