Jed Lowrie has been giving the Cleveland Indians fits this season.
Lowrie will look to keep the Indians under his thumb on Thursday afternoon as the Oakland Athletics vie for a three-game series sweep in Cleveland.
Lowrie went 4-for-10 with a homer and three RBIs in the teams’ three-game series last month before his RBI double in the 10th inning powered the Athletics to a 4-3 win on Tuesday.
Lowrie added another signature moment on Wednesday by belting a three-run homer in the eighth inning to send Oakland to a 6-3 victory.
“Late in games, you just have to know who you are as a hitter and look for a pitch you can handle,” Lowrie said.
Cleveland acting manager DeMarlo Hale credited Lowrie for recording timely hits, something that his struggling team has failed to do of late.
“(Lowrie’s) hitting in the middle of the lineup for a reason,” Hale said. “He’s hitting behind an All-Star in Matt Olson. He’s a switch-hitter and you’ve got to pick your poison as to which side you want him to hit from.
“He has the ability to put the bat on the ball. I thought we pitched him tough. We got him to swing and miss a few times. It just seems that later in the game he’s had better at-bats against us.”
Oakland’s Elvis Andrus launched a solo homer earlier in the eighth inning on Wednesday.
“We’re not even 100 percent as an offense, but we still finding a way and grinding to get wins,” Andrus said.
“We know we’re a better team offensively and there are few guys — including myself — that are still fighting to get us rolling.”
Starling Marte is batting .463 (19-for-41) during his nine-game hitting streak for the Athletics, who have won six in a row to move a season-high 18 games over .500.
Cleveland, on the other hand, has lost six of its last nine games overall and seven straight home contests to Oakland.
“You can take away some positive things,” Hale said. “We’re playing some good baseball. Hopefully the timely hits will start to come and you try to stay away from some of the big blows that can change the game.”
Oakland will turn to right-hander Chris Bassitt (11-3, 3.19 ERA) in its bid for a sweep on Thursday afternoon.
Bassitt, 32, allowed one run on five hits with eight strikeouts over seven innings in a no-decision against the Texas Rangers on Friday.
The University of Akron product fell to 0-2 with a 4.13 ERA in four career starts versus Cleveland after taking the loss on July 18. He permitted three runs on six hits — including two homers — in seven innings of a 4-2 setback.
Myles Straw is 5-for-10 in his career against Bassitt.
Bradley Zimmer is batting .353 (6-for-17) against the Athletics this season.
Cleveland will counter with right-hander Eli Morgan (1-4, 6.09) on Thursday.
Morgan, 25, took the loss on Saturday despite allowing just two runs on six hits in seven innings of a 2-1 setback to the Detroit Tigers.
Morgan received a no-decision in his lone career encounter against Oakland. He permitted three runs on seven hits in five innings on July 16.
–Field Level Media