A's lose 2-0 to Indians for 10th consecutive season-opening loss

  • Starter Sonny Gray had several close calls during the A's home opener against the Cleveland Indians but gave up no runs in the A's loss, Monday March 31, 2014 in Oakland. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2014

OAKLAND — History stayed its course at O.co Coliseum on Monday night. It worked for the A's more loyal fans, but not for the team they came to cheer.

After several hours of pelting rain, the clouds miraculously parted an hour before first pitch, allowing the A's to avoid the first Opening Day home rainout in Oakland history. Their performance on the field was much gloomier, though. The Athletics lost on the first day of the season for the 10th consecutive year, the longest streak in Major League Baseball history, as they fell 2-0 to the Cleveland Indians.

This year's out-of-the-gate stumble was the result of tepid hitting, a dreadful A's debut by new closer Jim Johnson and, perhaps most vivid, a base-running blunder by Daric Barton.

Oakland A's Opening Day


The veteran first baseman led off the eighth inning of a scoreless game with a ground-ball single up the middle against reliever Mark Rzepczynski, and advanced to second on Coco Crisp's one-out walk. Josh Donaldson then blasted a drive to deep center. Cleveland's Nyjer Morgan retreated on the ball. Would he catch up to it, or did Donaldson have a potential game-winning home run? Neither. The ball hit off the very top of the padded fence and caromed to Morgan — and somehow, Barton did not score. He had parked himself too close to second base and wound up settling for third, leaving Donaldson with perhaps the longest single in A's history.

"Without nobody out, you tag up," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "With one out you're halfway so you can score on that play."

Jed Lowrie followed with a bases-loaded strikeout, and Brandon Moss grounded out to first base to end the threat.

Invigorated, the Indians finally broke the scoring freeze in the top of the ninth, as Asdrubal Cabrera walked, David Murphy singled, Yan Gomes was hit by a pitch, Morgan hit a sacrifice fly and former Athletic Nick Swisher singled up the middle — all against Johnson, who signed a one-year, $10 million contract.

Melvin pulled Johnson in favor of Fernando Abad, and Johnson was booed by his new home crowd.

A's starter Sonny Gray didn't much resemble the rookie ace who matched Justin Verlander pitch for pitch in the 2013 American League playoffs, but he got tough when he needed to against the Indians.

"I felt OK. A little uncomfortable at first," Gray said. "Was just sporadic with the fastball. But came away feeling pretty well, but just a little short on the game tonight."

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