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OAK@CLE: Santana blasts a two-run shot to right

CLEVELAND -- For the next month, it's all hands on deck for the Indians.

With time waning and rosters soon to expand, anyone could be called upon to chip in to the Indians' push for a playoff spot.

Jeanmar Gomez helped the Tribe's cause Tuesday, tossing six strong innings to propel Cleveland to a 6-1 win over the Athletics at Progressive Field.

"He gave us a very good outing," Indians skipper Manny Acta said. "He gave us an opportunity to put together a couple of runs."

The Indians likely won't participate much in the flurry of activity that will take place on Thursday when Major League rosters increase in size. Cleveland has already beckoned a great deal of young talent to the Majors, necessitated by a series of injuries to the club's core players.

Gomez (1-2, 4.55) earned the nod to fill in for Josh Tomlin, who landed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained ligament in his right elbow on Friday. Tomlin was shut down from baseball activities for two weeks. After that time, the team will judge his health and the team's standing, to determine if he'll resume his pitching this season.

Prior to his injury, Tomlin (12-7, 4.25) was one of the Tribe's most consistent hurlers, an integral piece of the club's postseason push. For a night, though, Gomez eased any concerns about the shorthanded rotation.

In his first big league start since July 17, the right-hander tossed a season-high six innings, yielding just one unearned run and six hits while striking out four and inducing nine outs via ground balls. In two starts against the A's this season, Gomez has a 0.79 ERA.

"He got in a very good groove," Acta said. "He had very good movement on his fastball. ... He made some very good pitches off the plate when he had to."

Carlos Santana and Jack Hannahan -- two constants in an Indians lineup ravaged by injuries -- provided plenty of support, each clubbing a two-run blast in the decisive sixth inning. Santana sent an 88-mph sinker from Trevor Cahill sinker soaring into the right-field seats. Two batters later, Hannahan socked a hanging breaking ball from Fautino De Los Santos to the same spot.

"He started me with a couple fastballs, and then left a curveball up," Hannahan said. "I was able to put a good swing on it."

Hannahan continued his scorching August with a 3-for-4 effort. He's batting .419 (18-for-43) this month.

"I'm using my hands more and doing what the pitcher allows me to do," Hannahan said. "I'm just not trying to do too much."

The sixth-inning power surge was plenty of support for Gomez. Just one Athletics hitter made it to third base when the 23-year-old was on the mound. Second baseman Jemile Weeks reached base when Gomez could not handle a relay throw from Asdrubal Cabrera, who was attempting to seal a double play. Cabrera's throw skimmed Gomez's glove and sailed out of play, allowing Weeks to advance to second. He then scored on Coco Crisp's single.

Oakland didn't muster another scoring threat until the ninth, when they scratched across a harmless run against southpaw reliever Rafael Perez.

Acta said following the win that Gomez's performance earned him at least one more start. That's a small window of stability for a team that hasn't had much continuity all season. Without the services of Grady Sizemore, Michael Brantley, Travis Hafner, Shin-Soo Choo and others, the Indians have been forced to lean on a collection of unseasoned players.

And yet, here are the Indians, just 5 1/2 games behind Detroit in the American League Central. At this point, with their sights set on the division crown, it doesn't matter who chips in.

On Tuesday, it was a guy who hadn't toed the Major League rubber in more than six weeks, a man with just 16 Major League appearances to his credit, who remained unfazed by the task at hand.

"I don't feel any pressure," Gomez said. "I don't feel nervous. I just tried to do what I've been doing at Triple-A. I tried to keep the ball down and throw strikes."

The Indians' refusal to fade has even impressed their manager, who wasn't sure that his club could survive injuries to so many important contributors. He's seen youngsters such as Ezequiel Carrera and David Huff step up and capture the moment. Gomez was the latest.

"The young man gave us a lift today," Acta said. Comments