OAKLAND — Nyjer Morgan hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the ninth inning against new Athletics closer Jim Johnson and the Cleveland Indians sent Oakland to its major league-record 10th straight opening loss with a 2-0 victory Monday night.
Nick Swisher added an RBI single against Johnson (0-1), who was then pulled from his A’s debut.
In the sixth, crew chief Mike Winters became the first umpire to initiate a review under the expanded replay system, making the call after a collision at home plate.
Winters requested the review on a close play that kept Cleveland from breaking a scoreless tie.
Winters wanted to see if A’s catcher John Jaso had illegally blocked the plate under baseball’s new rule regarding home plate collisions. With Michael Brantley on third and one out, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a comebacker that ricocheted off pitcher Sonny Gray’s foot.
Gray quickly retrieved the ball and fired home to Jaso, who tagged a sliding Brantley. Cleveland manager Terry Francona came out to discuss the play, then Winters went to replay and the call was confirmed in 59 seconds.
Oakland’s Josh Donaldson hit a single off the top of the wall near the 400-foot sign in center in the eighth, but Daric Barton held up at second waiting to tag in case the ball was caught, and the A’s failed to score the go-ahead run.
Cody Allen (1-0) then struck out Jed Lowrie and retired Brandon Moss on a grounder to first.
Justin Masterson, in his third straight opening day outing, and Gray dueled in a scoreless games before the bullpens took over to decide it.
The game began just four minutes behind schedule under blue skies, a best-case scenario considering the downpour a couple of hours earlier.
Gray walked the first two batters of the game but quickly settled to throw six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and three walks in a 105-pitch opener.
The right-hander, who dueled with Detroit ace Justin Verlander in Game 2 of last fall’s division series, earned the start after Jarrod Parker was lost to season-ending Tommy John surgery.