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Game #85: Anderson, A’s clip Halos’ wings in shutout win

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics (45-39) shut out the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (42-42) by a score of 4-0 tonight to take a 2-1 lead in a four game series at Angels Stadium that ends tomorrow afternoon. Brett Anderson posted a stellar start and newly-promoted closer Liam Hendricks capped an uneventful night for the Angels’ offense, while Matt Chapman led the A’s bats with his 20th home run of the season.

Click here for first game thread.

Click here for second game thread.

Both teams’ starters no-hit their opponents through the first three innings. Brett Anderson was perfect through the first third of the game for the A’s, and Angels’ lefty Tyler Skaggs walked two while holding Oakland scoreless.

Opportunity knocked at Oakland’s door in the top of the fourth. With one out, designated hitter Mark Canha ripped a line drive just over the glove of Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons for the A’s first hit of the game. Chad Pinder, starting at left this evening, came up next and grounded a possible double play ball to Luis Rengifo, but the Angels second baseman’s throw to Simmons at second was wide, allowing the A’s runners to reach second and third base. Ramon Laureano followed with a walk to load the bases, but then Stephen Piscotty grounded into a 6-4-1 to end yet another scoreless frame.

Brett Anderson walked Mike Trout with one out in the bottom of the fourth to end his run of perfection, but Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani struck out and left fielder Justin Upton flew out, allowing Anderson to keep a no hitter intact through four.

The A’s finally opened the game’s scoring in the fifth. Tyler Skaggs, despite entering the inning with a shutout, was looking vulnerable: he was 79 pitches deep when the frame began, and he added another seven to his pitch count in the process of walking Jurickson Profar, who would soon cross the plate on a double from Marcus Semien. Skaggs left the game after four and a third innings and 91 pitches. Trevor Cahill relieved Skaggs, and Chapman took Cahill’s first pitch, a 93 mph sinker, for a deep line drive that made it to the stands in right center as Chappy became the first Athletic to hit 20 home runs in 2019. The A’s led 3-0 halfway through the game.

Anderson’s dominance continued. Simmons finally got a hit for the Angels in the fifth, but it would come to naught but the end of Anderson’s no-no as three quick outs followed, including an unassisted double play by Matt Olson to end the inning.

The A’s added on against Cahill in the top of the seventh on an RBI single from Josh Phegley that allowed Profar to score his second run of the game. The A’s lead had increased to four at the seventh inning stretch. Cahill, who fared quite respectably for the A’s across 20 starts in 2018, is getting roughed up quite a bit this year as an Angel: he ended the night with a 6.93 ERA on the season and allowed six runs in his last start against the A’s on May 27.

In the end, it took just two Athletics arms to shut out the Halos. Brett Anderson delivered an excellent start across seven and two thirds scoreless innings and exactly 100 pitches. He allowed just two hits, struck out three, and walked two. Brett put last week’s seven run debacle against the Rays well behind him and ended the night with a respectable 3.92 ERA on the season. However, Anderson did exit the game somewhat abruptly in the eighth, his body language hinting at a possible onset of some elbow discomfort. Liam Hendricks relieved Anderson and expediently carried the torch to the finish, allowing just one Angel on base when Trout singled in the bottom of the ninth.

With tonight’s victory, the A’s pulled to six games above .500 for the first time this season and are now three games ahead of the Angels in the AL West. Oakland will look to clinch the series tomorrow and make up ground on the Texas Rangers, who lead the A’s by 1.5 games in both the divisional standings and the Wild Card race. If the season ended today, the Rangers would be playing in Tampa Bay to see who joins the Yankees, Twins, and Astros in the first round of AL postseason series. Competition is fierce enough without the Angels getting into the chase, so these road wins in Anaheim are especially big for the A’s.

Unearthed Arcana

  • Stephen be leavin’ for the IL, it appears. He went down on a slide into second and remained still, flat on his back for several moments before being assisted off the field. Wishing for Piscotty’s good health and a speedy recovery.
  • A’s FO: treat yo’selves! Ben Ross conditionally expects the A’s will go shopping, and I’d guess that a FanPulse survey would find AN somewhere around nine-to-one in agreement.
  • Oly echoes: Matt Olson was quiet at the plate tonight, but I can still hear those delightful cracks from last night. Already a gold glove winner, Matt is absolutely raking, giving us another glimpse of his stratospheric slugging potential. I predict A’s superstars at both corners.