The A's are 8 1/2 games behind Texas for the top spot in the American League West Division and lost the last two portions of a four-game weekend series versus Tampa Bay at the Coliseum. In Sunday's 3-2 defeat to theRays, Dallas Braden absorbed the loss for giving up three runs in six decent innings of work.
Gabe Gross had two hits and an RBI while Landon Powell finished 2-for-4 with a run scored for Oakland, which has lost two straight since a four-game winning streak and will also visit the Rangers and Yankees on the trek.
"He went out there and gave us six strong innings but we just didn't back him [Sunday]," Gross said of Braden. "A lot of times you're going to win games when your starter throws like that."
Gio Gonzalez hopes to get some run support when he takes the mound for the A's in tonight's series opener. Gonzalez is 1-2 over his last three decisions and did not figure into the outcome of a 5-4 win versus Toronto last Wednesday, when he delivered seven innings of one-run ball.
Gonzalez, who is 10-8 with a 3.39 earned run average in 25 starts, hopes to stay perfect in his career against the Indians. The lefty is 3-0 with a sparkling 1.16 ERA in four career meetings -- all starts -- with Cleveland.
The Indians have lost seven of their last nine contests and were just swept in three games at Detroit over the weekend. In an 8-1 setback in Sunday's series finale, Jeanmar Gomez was saddled with the loss for permitting eight runs -- seven earned -- and 11 hits in only three innings.
Shin-Soo Choo had three hits -- including a home run -- for the Indians, who will begin a nine-game homestand versus the A's, Royals and White Sox on Tuesday.
"We were overmatched by their pitching staff in these three games," said Tribe skipper Manny Acta after the loss. "Those three arms [the Tigers] threw at us, we couldn't do anything against them offensively and that was the difference."
Taking the mound for Acta's club tonight will be Fausto Carmona, who has dropped three straight starts and four of his last five outings. In last Wednesday's 9-7 defeat at Kansas City, Carmona was battered for seven runs and nine hits in five innings.
Carmona fell to 11-11 in 25 starts this season and saw his earned run average rise from 3.87 to 4.14. The right-hander is 3-4 in nine career games (eight starts) against the Athletics. Oakland beat Carmona on July 4 of this season.
The A's are 4-2 against Cleveland this season and have won nine of the past 13 matchups between the two teams.