It was a hot and stormy night.
Okay, not stormy, exactly, unless you count the Angels’ two home runs as “stormy”; I’d classify more as “stupid”, personally. With Mike Trout on the DL, the only Angels’ hitters the A’s needed to worry about tonight were Justin Upton and Kole Calhoun. The A’s did not receive the memo; the Angels’ four runs tonight were scored on--you guessed it--a two run home run by Kole Calhoun and a two-run home run by Justin Upton.
Brett Anderson pitched the first five innings, allowing four hits and the first two-run home run, exiting after only 63 pitches, giving way to Lou Trivino, who got unlucky with his baserunner and threw a bad pitch to a good hitter to take the loss. Tonight’s also marked the A’s debut of Fernando Rodney, who pitched the seventh inning, with the A’s trailing by one, and had a 1-2-3 inning. Positives there.
The game started out as promsingly as possible for the A’s, who started the game with a one-out home run by Matt Chapman, a one-out single by Jed Lowrie, and a one-out home run by Khris Davis to jump to the early 3-0 lead. Those three hits would equal the hits the A’s would record in the entire rest of the game. Their biggest threat was the third, where a one-out Chapman double, a wild pitch to give him third with two outs, and a hit-by-pitch to Khris Davis put two on with two out, but Matt Olson struck out to end the threat.
Anderson would hang on to the lead for the first and second innings, allowing nothing more than a baserunner on an error by Chapman, but was burned in the third by a single and the two-out home run by Kole Calhoun to close the gap to 3-2. Nick Martini made a nice catch to end the fifth inning, as Anderson made his exit, but the A’s were sunk by the sixth. To be fair, to open the inning, Matt Chapman made an incredible play on a ball that looked for all the world foul (I believe the words “Brooks Robinson” were bandied about by the Angels’ announcers), but Olson just couldn’t scoop the play, and it’s unclear whether the runner would have been out anyway (probably), but that runner turned out to be the difference in the game as the very next batter happened to be Justin Upton, who cranked a two-run home run off Trivino the next pitch.
After Justin Anderson struck out the side in the eighth (not to mention, Khris Davis on a full count in the ninth), Shawn Kelley entered the game for the A’s and did his part, including helping himself with a play that looked a little in slow-motion.
Despite the one bad pitch by Trivino (who wasn’t his sharpest tonight by any measure), the fault tonight really lies with the offense, who came to a screeching halt after four batters in the first. You aren’t going to win a lot of games with six total hits; much less three hits through eight innings.
The A’s went down 1, 2, 3 in the ninth, as each hitter received their own personal pitcher (I won’t miss you, Mike!); Olson slowly running up the line as to not beat out his infield hit. Piscotty worked a 3-0 count, but eventually grounded out, and the game—which had so much promise!—came to an abrupt end.
A’s drop the opener, and with it, a game to Seattle; their Wild Card lead a mere 1.5 games. Both New York and Houston lost, but the A’s needed that win. We’re back at it tomorrow at 6:05PM from Anaheim; Edwin Jackson will take his turn.