CLEVELAND -- A's catcher Derek Norris is impressed by Brett Anderson's dominance in his first two starts off the disabled list.
Impressed, not surprised.
"I expected him to do it because he's got that good of stuff," Norris said after the A's 3-0 victory Monday over the Cleveland Indians. "I'm that confident he's going to come out the third time and do the exact same thing."
Anderson held Cleveland to two hits over seven innings in his second outing back from reconstructive elbow surgery, helping the A's notch their ninth victory in the past 11 games and 12th shutout this season.
That it came against the lowly Tribe is nearly worth an asterisk, given that Cleveland is 5-20 in August.
But Anderson's return couldn't have come at a better time for the A's, considering last week's suspension of veteran starter Bartolo Colon for the rest of the regular season.
The lefty has thrown a combined 14 innings and allowed just one run and six hits with 11 strikeouts and two walks.
Not bad for a guy who has yet to put it all together. Anderson, Norris and A's manager Bob Melvin all said Anderson's location was a bit off from his first start against Minnesota last Tuesday.
"But his stuff looked really good, electric tonight," Melvin said.
Anderson (2-0) retired the first 13 batters he faced, and his perfect game was broken up on a missed call from first base umpire Jerry Meals with one out in the fifth.
Meals signaled safe.
Anderson responded by coaxing a 6-4-3 double play from Shelley Duncan to end the inning. When Brent Lillibridge led off the bottom of the sixth with a double to the wall in left-center, the crowd of 13,018 at Progressive Field gave a noticeable ovation, as if acknowledging it was Cleveland's first legitimate hit.
Anderson said the fifth-inning play at first made for confusion.
"Four people at the bag, a cloud of dust. Too many people, too many bodies," he said. "It would have been interesting to see how it played out had I not given up (another) hit or walk. I'm just happy with the way we played."
The A's (70-57) are 13 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2006 season. They moved into a tie with Baltimore for the American League's top wild-card spot, a half-game ahead of Tampa Bay.
Josh Reddick hit his 26th home run in the second inning off Roberto Hernandez (0-3), and he's 5 for 8 in two games since being droppedfrom third to sixth in the batting order.
Reddick also made two great defensive plays in right field. He made a diving catch on Jason Donald's liner to the gap in the fourth. With two on and two out in the seventh, he battled the lights to haul in Lillibridge's deep drive to right.
Melvin said he's inclined to keep Reddick in the sixth spot for the time being, and the production of Yoenis Cespedes and Seth Smith in the 3-4 spots makes that an easier call.
Cespedes doubled in his first two-at bats. Smith homered Saturday against the Rays and delivered a sacrifice fly for the A's first run Monday.
Blackley, who has been pitching in long relief, was the logical choice. Dan Straily isn't eligible to be promoted until Thursday after he was optioned on Aug. 20, and A.J. Griffin (strained shoulder) made his second rehab start Monday and therefore isn't available.
Melvin didn't commit to whether Blackley could remain in the rotation beyond Wednesday. The lefty has made 11 starts this season and gone 3-3 with a 4.04 ERA.
Gomes is trying to arrange for the players to come out to the Coliseum and take batting practice with the A's. Team officials plan to honor the squad during an upcoming home game, but no date has been set.
Gomes said he talked to Petaluma manager Eric Smith before the team flew back to the Bay Area and told him: "These little kids are going to be Justin Bieber-famous when they get back."