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CLEVELAND — Cody Allen is one of the least acclaimed yet most productive closers in the major leagues. On Friday night. when the Cleveland Indians open a three-game series with the Oakland A’s [url=http://www.officialsabres.com/authentic-adidas-jack-eichel-jersey]http://www.officialsabres.com/authentic-adidas-jack-eichel-jersey[/url] , Allen will be in uniform at Progressive Field for the first time as the Indians’ career saves leader.
In pitching the ninth inning of a 3-2 Cleveland win in Kansas City on Wednesday, Allen posted his 140th career save, breaking Bob Wickman’s franchise record of 139, which had stood since 2006.
“He means so much to all of us,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said of Allen. “This is a kid who was drafted in the 16th round, but through being a consummate professional, he’s now the Indians’ all-time leader. That’s pretty awesome. It’s a big accomplishment, and he’s not close to being done.”
Allen (2-3, 3.38 ERA) ranks seventh in the American League this year with 18 saves, but his year-in, year-out consistency has been his trademark. He has had at least 30 saves in each of the last three seasons. Only two other closers in the majors can say that: the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen and Boston’s Craig Kimbrel.
“This is something I’m extremely proud of,” Allen said of passing Wickman as the club’s saves leader. “It’s something I get to hang my hat on for my career. It’s very cool.”
The A’s (48-39) come to Cleveland with nearly the same record as the Indians (48-37), but what a difference a division makes. The first-place Indians lead the AL Central by 11 1/2 games. The A’s are in third in the AL West, 8 1/2 games behind the first-place Houston Astros.
The A’s won two of three games from the Indians last weekend in Oakland. That was part of a longer streak in which the A’s have won eight of their last nine. Since June 16, Oakland is 14-3.
“I think we’re having a lot of fun,” A’s third baseman Matt Chapman told MLB.com, “and no matter what the score is, I don’t think we count ourselves out. There’s no panic in the dugout. We just keep playing our game. We trust that we’re a good team.”
On Friday night, the A’s will send Paul Blackburn (2-2, 6.46 ERA) to the mound. In his last start on June 29 in Oakland, Blackburn baffled the Indians [url=http://www.officialsabres.com/authentic-adidas-jake-mccabe-jersey]Youth Jake McCabe Jersey[/url] , pitching 6 1/3 scoreless innings and giving up just three hits in a 3-1 victory.
Blackburn has started five major league games this year. In the one against Cleveland, he is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and an opponents’ batting average of .150. In the other four starts, he’s 1-2 with an 8.83 ERA and an opponents’ batting average of .324. In two career starts against the Indians, Blackburn is 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA.
Cleveland will counter with Carlos Carrasco (8-5, 4.24), who will make his first start since June 16, a 9-3 loss to Minnesota in which he was knocked out of the game in the second inning after getting hit in the right arm by a line drive off the bat of Joe Mauer.
Carrasco was placed on the 10-day disabled list the next day with a right elbow contusion. He made one rehab start at Double-A Akron on June 30, pitching four scoreless innings and giving up one hit with four strikeouts and one walk.
Carrasco’s last legitimate start was his best start of the year, a 4-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on June 11. In that game, he pitched seven scoreless innings and gave up two hits and one walk with 11 strikeouts.
In six career appearances, including five starts, against Oakland, Carrasco is 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA.
Trout drove in two runs, Kole Calhoun and Ian Kinsler added solo homers and the Angels held on for a 5-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.
Trout continued his torrid hitting in June by slapping a sharp first-pitch single to left-center with the bases loaded in the fifth inning, and a throwing error by Jarrod Dyson allowing Kinsler to score as the Angels took a 4-2 lead.
”We have to be more than Mike, but believe me, that’s a situation we love to have him swing the bat,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Trout went 1 for 1 with two walks, improving to .448 (26 for 58) this month. His career average of .358 in June is the best by an active player in any month with at least 400 plate appearances, and Trout has hit safely in eight straight games.
”This is not an easy game and this guy makes it look easier and easier every year, so it’s a special talent that we’re not going to see too many times [url=http://www.officialsabres.com/authentic-adidas-jason-pominville-jersey]Jason Pominville Jersey Kids[/url] , so enjoy it now,” Calhoun said.
Asked if he had an explanation for Trout’s tendency to thrive in June, Calhoun joked, ”It must be his favorite month.”
Matt Koch (5-4) hit two batters to help load the bases for Trout, who has 10 walks in his last five games. Koch allowed five runs in 5 2/3 innings to end his streak of four straight starts without a loss.
”It just slipped away from him. To stop this team, you got to limit the baserunners before Mike Trout, and he didn’t do that,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.
Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer in the ninth, but Blake Parker got Jake Lamb to line out to left for the third out and end a three-game losing streak.
Cam Bedrosian (4-1) got the win as the struggling Angels bullpen delivered, with Parker getting his eighth save despite giving up Goldschmidt’s 16th home run.
Angels right-hander Felix Pena gave up one run, two hits and three walks in four innings in his first major league start, while striking out six.
Kinsler hit his 48th career leadoff homer, fourth all-time. Calhoun clubbed his second home run of the season in the sixth inning.
Buoyed by his first homer since opening day, Calhoun went 2 for 3. He is 3 for 7 in two games since returning from the disabled list because of a strained right oblique muscle. Calhoun had been hitting .145 prior to the injury.
Diamondbacks: RHP Archie Bradley has been hindered because of a cracked fingernail on his right index finger, limiting his ability to throw curveballs. Bradley does not expect the nail will heal this season after cracking it during spring training.
Angels: CF Chris Young left the game after the seventh inning because of a hamstring injury.
The Angels acquired RHP Deck McGuire from Texas in exchange for cash considerations and a player to be named later, designating C Juan Graterol for assignment in a corresponding move.
McGuire appeared in four games for Toronto this season, allowing six earned runs in 8 1/3 innings. He has a 4.09 ERA in 10 career appearances.
Diamondbacks: RHP Zack Godley (7-5, 4.77 ERA) will start at Pittsburgh on Thursday. Godley has won three of his last four starts.
Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs (6-4, 2.81) will start against Toronto on Thursday. Skaggs is 3-0 with a 0.45 ERA in June, having allowed one run in 20 innings.