Athletics left-hander Tommy Milone provided a textbook example of a hard-luck loss Tuesday night.
Milone went seven strong innings and didn't allow an earned run, but took the loss as the Cleveland Indians turned two errors and a sacrifice fly into a 1-0 victory over Oakland.
Milone (3-4) scattered five hits without issuing a walk and struck out five, yet still had his career-long losing streak extended to four games. During that four-start stretch, he has allowed eight earned runs in 27 1-3 innings for a 2.63 ERA, but the Athletics have only scored five times.
"You just have to deal with situations like this as a pitcher because you can't control them," said Milone, who was 3-0 with a 3.86 ERA in his first three starts. "Obviously, we want to win and I want to win, but my goal is to keep the team in every game that I'm out there. That's all I'm trying to do."
Cleveland scored the lone run of the contest in the fifth when Carlos Santana reached base on a double-error and scored on Yan Gomes' sacrifice fly.
Santana led off with a sharp, one-hop grounder to first baseman Brandon Moss, who misplayed it for the initial error. The ball ricocheted directly to second baseman Eric Sogard, but he threw it wildly past Milone, who was covering first, for the second miscue.
Two batters later, Gomes brought Santana home with a drive to the warning track in center field. It marked the second time this season that Milone has lost a game without permitting an earned run.
"We came up short tonight, but it definitely wasn't Milone's fault," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "He was terrific. It's disappointing we couldn't get him a run or two to get him a win, but he pitched great."
Melvin absolved Milone of blame for getting into trouble in the fifth.
"On that play, as a first baseman, when a ball is hit to your right, you're instincts tell you to go for it," he said. "Now, Brandon also has got to know his limitations, but that's a play you're going to try and make. Then, Sogey tries to make a throw to Milone and that didn't turn out too good."
The Athletics — playing without injured outfielders Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp, and Chris Young — failed to get a runner past first base against Indians starter Zach McAllister or relievers Rich Hill and Chris Perez.
Crisp (strained left hamstring) and Young (strained left quad) are on the 15-day disabled list, while Reddick could join them because of a sore right wrist. Reddick, who has the third-worst batting average in the American League at .152, received a cortisone shot before the game after an MRI revealed inflammation in the joint.
"The last few days have been pretty rough and I've been having a lot of trouble," he said. "I don't want to be a guy rotting on the bench, taking up a roster spot and not helping this team. We'll sit out here, maybe (the next series in) Seattle, or even take a trip to the disabled list."
McAllister (3-3) tossed 7 2-3 scoreless innings, allowing five hits and one walk. The right-hander struck out four in leading Cleveland to its eighth win in its last nine games. Hill retired the only batter he faced, while Perez worked the ninth to earn his fourth save in five chances.
Perez was touched up for a one-out single by Oakland center fielder Yoenis Cespedes, but the Cuban speedster was thrown out trying to steal second by Indians catcher Gomes.
"It was a laser," Perez said. "It was right on the bag, right on the money."
One pitch later, Perez struck out Brandon Moss with a full count to end the game.
"If I didn't want (Cespedes) to go, I'd have put a red light on him," Melvin said, defending the gamble. "You've got to try it. It's 1.5 (seconds) to the plate, and even though the pitch was high and wide, which helped Gomes with the throw, Cespedes had to take that chance."
Leadoff hitter John Jaso had two of the six hits for short-handed Oakland, which fell to 2-3 on its season-long, 10-game road trip. Oakland dropped to 6-12 after a 12-4 start. The Athletics are 13-3 against AL West Division foes, but 5-13 against everyone else.