Brett Anderson dominated the host Cleveland Indians with seven scoreless innings to lead the A’s to their third straight victory, a 3-0 decision Monday.
Making his second start since returning from Tommy John surgery, Anderson (2-0) retired the first 13 batters and allowed only two hits while striking out five as the A’s improved to 9-2 in their past 11 games.
Anderson also went seven strong innings Aug. 21 in his first start back in the big leagues, allowing just one earned run in a 4-1 victory against the Minnesota Twins. His return comes at the perfect time after Oakland lost Bartolo Colon to a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.
Josh Reddick belted his team-leading 26th homer and Chris Carter and Seth Smith each drove in a run for Oakland, which is tied with the Baltimore Orioles for the American League wild-card lead.
Ryan Cook struck out two batters in the eighth before Grant Balfour fanned the side in the ninth for his 15th save as the A’s beat the skidding Indians for the fifth straight time and handed them their 11th loss in the past 12 games.
Cleveland starter Roberto Hernandez (0-3) lasted only 2¹⁄³ innings before exiting with a sprained right ankle. He allowed three runs on four hits.
Rookie Yoenis Cespedes went 2-for-4, including a double that led to Oakland’s first run, and is batting .440 (11-for-25) against the Indians.
NOTES: A’s left-hander Dallas Braden, who pitched a perfect game in May 2010, underwent surgery to repair a tear in his rotator cuff. He made only three starts last year before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery. ... The A’s swapped minor-league catchers with the Chicago Cubs, acquiring Blake Lalli for Anthony Recker. Lalli, 29, was hitting .259 with 20 doubles, seven home runs and 40 RBIs in 93 games with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. Recker, an 18th-round pick by the A’s in the 2005 draft, has played briefly with Oakland the past two seasons.