Cleveland Indians pitcher Zach McAllister’s downward spiral has reached rock bottom.
The right-hander allowed eight runs — including a grand slam by Josh Reddick — in 11/3 innings Friday night as the Oakland Athletics crushed Cleveland 11-1.
McAllister (3-4) gave up career-high tying eight earned runs, five hits, two home runs, and three walks in the shortest of his 59 major league starts. Since posting his last win on April 21, he is 0-4 with an 8.72 ERA in five starts.
“I’m trying my hardest, but baseball is a game of peaks and valleys, and I’m down right now,” said McAllister, who started the season 3-0 with a 2.28 ERA in four starts. “I wasn’t able to make any adjustments, I fell behind in counts, and they were able to get some balls in play and hit them hard.”
Oakland sent 11 batters to the plate in the second, scoring eight times for its biggest inning of the season. Josh Donaldson chased McAllister with a three-run homer, ending his night after 54 pitches and just four outs.
McAllister had struck out the side in the first, and went into the second with the lead courtesy of a solo homer by Nick Swisher.
“He probably had all the confidence in the world, then things just go haywire for him,” Reddick said. “That’s the way this game goes. It’s very humbling and can bring you down off cloud nine within a second.”
Indians manager Terry Francona said he stuck with his starter as long as he could, but needs McAllister, who threw 38 pitches in the second, to take a hard look at himself going forward.
“You want to give a guy a chance to get through it, but it just wasn’t happening,” Francona said. “Zach lost the feel for his off-speed and wasn’t locating his fastball in the second inning. He’s going to have to be strong enough to look at these numbers of late and remind himself how good he is. He has to understand he is a good pitcher.”
Swisher’s first homer since April 12 was one of two hits off right-hander Sonny Gray (5-1), who went six dominant innings. Michael Brantley singled in the third, while David Murphy had a ninth-inning hit off reliever Jim Johnson.