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OAK@CLE: Carrera tracks it down and makes the grab

CLEVELAND -- There's no rest for the weary.

Few could blame the Indians for lacking energy Thursday afternoon in a 7-0 loss, after pouring every ounce of juice into Wednesday's 16-inning win over the A's. Unfortunately for the Tribe, there isn't enough time on the schedule to compensate for its rest deprivation.

Fausto Carmona delivered Thursday's first pitch at 12:06 p.m. ET, just 11 hours and 59 minutes after Cord Phelps slid safely into home to propel the Indians to a 4-3 win over the Athletics.

Wednesday's win left the team with little time to sleep. Thursday's shutout loss to Oakland in the series finale at Progressive Field left the Tribe with even less margin for error down the final stretch of a jam-packed September schedule.

The Indians' fatigue was evident in their lethargy at the plate and sloppiness in the field, as the drained club managed just five harmless singles on the afternoon.

The lifeless loss erased a golden opportunity to inch closer to division-leading Detroit, which fell to Kansas City on Thursday. Instead, the Tribe sputtered at the tail end of its 11-game homestand, on which the team finished 6-5. Manager Manny Acta had enough energy following the game to commend his club for winning five of the final seven games.

"I'd love to win them all," Acta said, "but I can't sit here and complain about these guys taking three out of four from these guys and winning back-to-back series."

A's starter Gio Gonzalez continued his mastery of the Indians, extending his scoreless streak against the Tribe to 27 2/3 innings. In six career starts against Cleveland, the southpaw is 5-0 with a 0.72 ERA.

"Gio was tough on us again," Acta said. "Even when we have our full deck of cards, he's always tough on us. We don't match up very well with him. He has an overpowering fastball, an overpowering breaking ball. He usually cruises against us, and he did it again today."

Gonzalez rarely dabbled into trouble, yielding just four singles in seven sharp innings while walking four and striking out seven. No Indians hitter reached third base.

"It seems like he threw all his pitches for strikes today," second baseman Jason Donald said. "He has good velocity on his fastball. The breaking ball he has is short and sharp. He made pitches when he had to."

Carmona matched his pitching counterpart for much of the afternoon, his hefty sinker plunging out of the strike zone, either forcing hitters to swing and miss, or beat the deceptive pitch into the ground.

"I felt that Carmona threw the ball very well," Acta said. "He went deep in the game, which we needed for our bullpen. It didn't matter how well he threw the ball, we weren't going to win without scoring any runs."

Carmona encountered trouble in the fifth, however.

Cliff Pennington plated the game's first run with an RBI single to left field with two outs. The ensuing batter, former Indian Coco Crisp, sprayed an RBI single to right field to double Oakland's advantage.

An array of defensive miscues furthered the distance between the teams on the scoreboard. In the seventh, after catcher Anthony Recker doubled, third baseman Eric Sogard tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt. The ball traveled forward, between Carmona and the third-base line, where the 6-foot-6 right-hander let the it roll to a halt about five feet short of spinning out of play. Instead of Carmona scooping up the ball and making a play at first, Sogard reached without a throw.

"He knew that he had a play there," Acta said. "I don't know what he was actually thinking, maybe that the ball was going to roll out of play, but that ball had no chance to roll out. We should've gotten the out."

Jemile Weeks followed with a routine liner to left field that connected with Jerad Head's glove before falling to the grass for a costly error, which allowed Recker to score. Pennington, who tied a career high with four hits, then reached after first baseman Carlos Santana knocked down his sharp grounder. Donald scooped up the ricochet, but he couldn't decide where to throw it, granting Pennington first base without a throw.

"I should've been more mindful of the baserunner," Donald said. "I was thinking we still had a chance to get the out at second. When I looked over there, he was sliding in, and by the time I looked back, the guy had already beaten it. I should've just taken the out at first."

In the eighth, Pennington greeted Corey Kluber with a two-run single on the right-hander's first Major League pitch. Moments later, Crisp singled home Oakland's seventh and final run.

The Indians couldn't have packed up and boarded their flight to Kansas City quickly enough. Reliever Frank Herrmann, who tossed four perfect innings in relief to cap Wednesday's win, said he planned to take a lengthy nap on the plane.

Lou Marson, who caught 25 innings in 24 hours, looked forward to a few burden-free hours on his aching legs.

The transport to the Indians' weekend trip offered a sluggish team a rare escape from the diamond and a highly coveted opportunity for rest. Cleveland plays 28 games over the final 27 days of the regular-season schedule, though the club isn't making excuses.

"It's not going to be easy, that's for sure," closer Chris Perez said. "But at the same time, it's the same amount of games for everybody during the calendar year. If you play them all early or late, it doesn't really matter. It all equals out."

The Indians don't have time to waste to be thinking about how droopy their eyelids are or how desperately they crave an energy drink.

"We all know what we're facing and what we've got in front of us," Acta said. "There's no time to complain, no time to rest or shut it down. We just have to continue to get after it."

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