CLEVELAND (CBS / AP) — Trevor Cahill is still searching for answers.
The Oakland right-hander has a month to find them.
Cahill, who won 18 games and made the All-Star team last season, continued to struggle Tuesday night as the Athletics dropped a 6-2 decision to the Cleveland Indians.
Cahill (9-13) fell to 1-6 in nine starts since the All-Star break. He opened the season 6-0 with a 1.72 ERA through May 14, but is 3-13 since. His struggles reflect those of the entire Athletics team. Oakland has lost four straight and five of six.
Carlos Santana and Jack Hannahan hit two-run homers for Cleveland. Jeanmar Gomez (1-2) allowed one unearned run over six innings after being recalled from Triple-A Columbus.
The main topic of conversation in Oakland’s clubhouse was Cahill and what can be done to get him pitching like he did in 2010. He allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. Cahill struck out two and walked two while throwing 101 pitches.
“Even in innings I didn’t give up runs, I was fighting myself,” he said. “When you’re doing that the whole game, it’s tough to get big league hitters out.”
Cahill hasn’t won since July 31, a span of six starts. His most recent loss might have been the most frustrating.
“I feel like I’ve been commanding the ball even though I got hit,” Cahill said. “Tonight I didn’t know where it was going.”
Oakland manager Bob Melvin is also trying to pinpoint why Cahill has been so ineffective.
“His stuff was good again,” Melvin said. “He’ll go through periods where he’s painting on all his pitches and everything’s sharp, and then he’ll have gaps where he gets out of whack a little bit.”
Cahill gave up a two-run double to Kosuke Fukudome in the third. Coco Crisp’s RBI single cut the lead in half in the fifth, but Cahill faltered again in the sixth. He isssued a one-out walk to Jim Thome and Santana connected for his 21st homer to put the Indians ahead 4-1.
“I was trying to throw it low,” Cahill said. “Hopefully he would chase it and hit it into the ground for a double play, but I left it up and he yanked it.”
“I think the homer shocked him a little bit,” Melvin said.
After Cahill hit Shelley Duncan with a pitch, Fautino De Los Santos came on and yielded Hannahan’s sixth homer to make it 6-1.
Cahill will attempt to put something positive together in the season’s final month.
“I have five starts left,” he said. “I’ll try to take them one at a time and pitch better.”
Oakland’s offense continues to struggle. The Athletics were held to one run and five hits in Monday’s 2-1 loss and managed eight hits Tuesday.
“We’ve basically done nothing,” Melvin said of the series’ first two games. “We’ll search for those answers, but I don’t have one right now.”
Oakland pulled to 2-1 in the fifth, helped by an error by Gomez covering first base.
With one out and Kurt Suzuki on first with a single, Jemile Weeks tapped a grounder to first baseman Santana, who had trouble getting the ball out of his glove before throwing to second base. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera took the throw to force out Suzuki and his relay to first was right over the bag—but Gomez had run past the base and was out of position.
The error sent Weeks to second. He scored on Crisp’s two-out single to right.
Neil Wagner’s major league debut provided one bright spot for Oakland. The hard-throwing right-hander retired the side in order in the eighth and struck out Santana, the first batter he faced. Wagner, called up from Triple-A Sacramento, was Cleveland’s 21st-round pick in 2005 and sold to Oakland a year ago.
“Getting behind 3-1 to Santana, I’ve seen him deposit plenty of those in my days with him,” Wagner said. “I was lucky enough to come back and get him out. It was cool being out there. I ended up OK, I guess.”
Notes: A’s RHP Michael Wuertz (thumb) is scheduled for a rehab outing Wednesday and could rejoin Oakland this weekend. He’s been out since July 30. … Oakland has scored nine runs in five games against Cleveland this year. … RHP Rich Harden (4-2) will face Indians RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (2-2) on Wednesday. Harden’s 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings are sixth-best among AL pitchers with at least 50 innings. Jimenez is 2-0 at home since being acquired by Cleveland from Colorado for four prospects at the trade deadline July 31. … Melvin said OF Ryan Sweeney, batting .200 (9 for 45) in August, may play the last two games of the series. … Weeks is 12 for 29 (.414) in a seven-game hitting streak. … A’s OF Brandon Allen went 0 for 4 and is in an 0 for 14 slump.
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