OAKLAND (AP) — Pinch-hitter Richie Palacios delivered a two-out, two-run double in the ninth inning and the Cleveland Guardians took advantage of a key error to beat the Oakland Athletics 3-1 on Saturday.
The RBIs were the first of Palacios’ career after the rookie infielder was called up from the minors Monday.
“Amazing. Everything I ever dreamed of,” Palacios said. “Didn’t feel any added pressure. Just trying to do what I do in every at-bat, put a quality at-bat together and hopefully get the next man up.”
Steven Kwan had two hits in his return to the lineup as the Guardians won their second straight following a seven-game losing streak. The rookie outfielder, batting .354 in his first big league season, had missed five games with a sore hamstring.
A day after the two clubs combined for 17 runs and 21 hits, starters Shane Bieber of the Guardians and Cole Irvin of the A’s kept it close into the late innings.
It was 1-all with one out in the Cleveland ninth with a runner on first when Oscar Mercado hit a potential double-play grounder to rookie second baseman Nick Allen, who misplayed it for an error after the ball deflected off the glove of reliever Dany Jiménez (1-1).
Palacios hit a towering double on a 3-1 pitch that landed near the base of the wall just past center fielder Christian Pache.
“He’s caught a couple of my balls like that in Triple-A so I was like, ‘Hopefully he doesn’t get this one,’” Palacios said.
Guardians manager Terry Francona said Palacios was prepared for the opportunity.
“He sat over there for 8 ½ innings and kind of watched,” Francona said. “I saw him talking to our hitting guys before his at-bat. Took a nice swing and because of that everybody leaves smiling.”
Nick Sandlin (1-1) retired three batters. Emmanuel Clase worked around a two-out double by Elvis Andrus in the ninth for his fourth save.
The Guardians are 2-7 on their 10-game road trip.
Sheldon Neuse homered for the A’s. Oakland, which turned a season-high four double plays, has lost five of seven.
“Our at-bats with runners in scoring position probably could be a little better, which we’re continuing to grind on,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “You’re going to go through these peaks and valleys in a season. Our pitching is giving us a chance to stay in these games.”
Bieber allowed seven hits, striking out seven and walking one. Irvin allowed one run in six innings with four strikeouts. The left-hander has a 1.13 ERA over his last three appearances.
“Ultimately we just kind of stuck to our strengths in a sticky situation,” Bieber said. “Just got into a rhythm and tried to go as deep as possible.”
The A’s claimed RHP Domingo Tapia off waivers from the Royals and assigned him to Triple-A Las Vegas. Tapia went 4-1 with a 2.67 ERA in 34 appearances last season with Kansas City and Seattle. Outfielder Mickey McDonald was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
Guardians: INF Yu Chang (COVID-19 injured list) had a single in two at-bats with Double-A Akron in the first game of his rehabilitation stint.
A’s: Tony Kemp was in the lineup after leaving Friday’s game shortly after getting hit in the shoulder by a pitch. … RHP Lou Trivino (COVID-19 IL) will make a rehab appearance with Single-A Stockton on Sunday. … OF Ramón Laureano has been held out of the past few games with Las Vegas because of soreness resulting from sleeping issues. Laureano is serving the final days of an MLB suspension and is eligible to return May 8.
The A’s plan to activate RHP James Kaprielian (0-0, 0.00 ERA) off the injured list to make his season debut in the series finale Sunday. Guardians RHP Triston McKenzie (0-2, 3.71) has allowed five earned runs over his previous 10 innings.
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