As it turned out, Lidle walked Gonzalez with

Associated Press Published:

As it turned out, Lidle walked Gonzalez with the bases loaded in the eighth inning, forcing in the go-ahead run as the Cleveland Indians beat the Oakland Athletics 2-1 Tuesday night.

"He got an RBI," Lidle (8-6) said. "But I thought he would get two or three or four."

Gonzalez said the deciding ball was a sinker that came in too low.

"It was a good pitch for him. Not for me. I walked," he said.

The Indians, leaders in the AL Central, snapped Oakland's five-game winning streak and the A's eight-game winning streak at the Oakland Coliseum.

The A's have won 16 of 19 and are a major league-best 29-10 since the All-Star break. They are three games ahead of the Boston Red Sox for the AL wild card lead.

Steve Woodard (3-2) made just his fifth start of the season. He allowed one run on five hits over seven innings before he was replaced by John Rocker.

"Woodard did an outstanding job," Cleveland manager Charlie Manuel said. "He took us exactly where we wanted to go. I didn't think we were ever going to score a run."

Russell Branyan was walked by Lidle to lead off the eighth. He went to second, and Einar Diaz reached on Diaz's sacrifice bunt.

Both runners advanced on Kenny Lofton's sacrifice bunt, but held on Omar Vizquel's grounder to second. Lidle intentionally walked Roberto Alomar to load the bases for Gonzalez, who walked on a 3-1 count to score Branyan.

The A's nearly came back in the bottom half.

With two outs, Rocker walked Jason Giambi, and Jermaine Dye singled, but Terrence Long popped out to left.

"We just couldn't get that big RBI," A's manager Art Howe said.

Bob Wickman pitched the ninth for his 22nd save.

Lidle had won five straight starts and eight of nine. He allowed two runs on five hits over 7 2-3 innings, with four strikeouts and three walks.

Johnny Damon tripled to lead off the game for the A's and scored on Woodard's wild pitch to give Oakland an early 1-0 lead.

The Indians tied it in the fifth. Marty Cordova doubled, then scored on Travis Fryman's bouncing single to right field that remained just fair.

The Indians have scored just nine runs in the last five games, three of them losses. It was their third win this season when scoring three or fewer runs.

"We're down here in the stretch run," Woodard said. "This is what it's all about. Last year was the first time I've been in a playoff situation and it makes you pick up your game."

Notes: Manuel announced that RHP Dave Burba would start Wednesday night's game in Oakland. Manuel chose Burba over RHP Charles Nagy. ... Howe is 469-467 with Oakland, the first time he's ever been over .500. "With four years of rebuilding out of six, that's something to say you are over .500," Howe said. ... The A's signed first-round draft pick Jeremy Bonderman, a right-handed pitcher out of Pasco, Wash. They also signed fourth-round draft pick Marcus McBeth, an outfielder from the University of South Carolina. ... Eric Chavez played first in the ninth inning, his first time at the position. ... Fryman was batting .368 (7-for-19) with a home run and four RBI against the A's this season.

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