"When you work yourself in lousy counts, you can't expect to have a lot of success," said Triggs, who cited early command issues as the root of his trouble. "I don't really have the luxury of being able to work out those kinks in the first. I need to make that adjustment, for sure."
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Triggs walked Yan Gomes to lead off the first inning, then he gave up doubles to Austin Jackson and Abraham Almonte and an RBI single to Erik Kratz.
"Not his best command, and not the best results," manager Bob Melvin said. "But the stuff still looked good."
Triggs, competing with Jesse Hahn and Raul Alcantara for what figures to be two rotation spots with the back injury to staff ace Sonny Gray, set down the Indians in order in the second, worked around a leadoff error in the third and struck out Kratz to start the fourth.
"I thought once we settled in, fastball command was better," said Triggs, who carried a 1.23 ERA into the game but saw it rise to 5.73 after he was charged with six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings. "As things settled in, I was happy with my breaking ball, happy with my cutter.
"Obviously, I wasn't happy with the results. My goal coming in was to get to the fifth and I didn't, so that's what I'm most frustrated with."
Triggs twice struck out Indians slugger Edwin Encarnacion.
"Both times was with runners on," Triggs said. "That was definitely a silver lining to the outing."
• Stephen Vogt was back behind the plate Thursday after not catching for a week because of a sore right heel. He went 1-for-3 with a double, beat out what would have been a double play and scored a run.
"I felt good. It was a good test," said Vogt, whose only playing time since March 9 was when he served as designated hitter on Tuesday.
• While most of the A's enjoyed Wednesday's off-day, Jharel Cotton pitched in a Triple-A game against the Cubs. Cotton gave up one run in four-plus innings and approached 70 pitches.
"He did everything we needed him to do," Melvin said.
• With Israel's run in the World Baseball Classic halted by Japan on Wednesday, non-roster catcher Ryan Lavarnway is expected back with the A's in the next day or two. Lavarnway was voted Pool A Most Valuable Player after he batted .556 (5-for-9). He finished the Classic with a .444 average, two doubles, a home run and six RBIs.
• Ryon Healy's long two-run homer gave him at least one RBI in seven of the 10 games he's played this spring and 12 RBIs overall.