OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Tony Kemp said he lost sleep over his costly error on Monday. It didn’t take him long to make up for it.
The second baseman hit a game-ending single in the bottom of the ninth inning Tuesday night to give the Oakland Athletics a 4-3 win over the Cleveland Guardians.
“Today’s a new day,” Kemp said. “You just continue to grind it out with your teammates. We’ve got a great group here. The season is young.”
Ryan Noda led off the ninth with a walk against James Karinchak (0-2). Noda advanced to second on a groundout by Esteury Ruiz before Kemp singled him home.
“I faced (Karinchak) a couple of times in the past,” Kemp noted. “He’s a guy that you definitely don’t want to get behind in the count, so I was just trying to get a fastball in the zone early and put a good swing on it, and it worked out for us.”
Ruiz and Jace Peterson also drove in runs to help Oakland snap a six-game home losing streak to Cleveland.
Trevor May (2-1) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.
“The ‘pen kept the game close, gave our offense a chance to win the game,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said.
Gabriel Arias homered for the Guardians, who lost for the first time since opening day, snapping a four-game win streak. José Ramírez had an RBI double.
Ruiz doubled in Noda to put the A’s ahead 1-0 in the third. Peterson added a sacrifice fly two batters later.
Cleveland tied it in the fourth on an RBI groundout by Josh Naylor and Arias’ solo homer off Oakland starter JP Sears, who allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings with five strikeouts.
Ramírez gave the Guardians their first lead in the fifth on a pop-fly double to shallow center. The ball bounced off Kemp’s glove as he nearly collided with Ruiz charging in from center field.
The A’s pulled even in the sixth when Seth Brown reached on a dropped third strike, allowing Kemp to score from third.
“They’ve shown in the last two games that they can bounce back and fight through some adversity and some mistakes,” Kotsay said about his team.
Cleveland ace Shane Bieber gave up three runs in six innings with seven strikeouts.
“It was a good game,” Bieber said. “Unfortunately, we just ended up on the wrong side of things tonight, so I’m excited to see how we bounce back tomorrow.”
KEEPING THE BEAT
The Guardians will wear a ‘JA’ patch on their uniforms in Friday’s home opener in memory of longtime super fan and ballpark drummer John Adams, who died in January.
“He was there every day for how many years?” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “I think it’s an extremely respectful, nice tribute to a fan, which is not a bad thing.”
The patch will feature Adams’ base drum mallets.
MOMMY AND ME
Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce, who is from Cleveland, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch with his mom, Donna, at the Guardians’ home opener. Donna Kelce became a big hit during Super Bowl week with two sons playing against each other in the game, the other being Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Jason Kelce.
By Ben Ross