Much of the two series the A’s have played against the Angels over the last eleven days has been frustrating — and that’s a bit of an understatement. Mental errors, poor umpiring, atrocious relief pitching, and questionable manager decisions had caused the Green and Gold to lose three of the last five to the Halos coming into Thursday’s game.
On Thursday night, it was a different story.
Recently, the A’s offense has been heavily reliant on the solo home run which is a fun, yet inefficient method for run scoring. Wednesday night, Oakland slapped the ball around and generated a lot of offense despite losing in the end. Thursday night, the offense had another productive performance, this time resulting in a 7-4 victory. While Stephen Piscotty did launch a solo jack in the 7th inning, Oakland did a terrific job of manufacturing offense through other means.
After loading up the bases and failing to score in the 2nd inning, the A’s bounced back and got it going in the 4th. Piscotty, Canha, Laureano, and Profar hit four consecutive singles which were followed by a Phegley sac fly, producing three runs in total.
In the 5th, with the lead at 3-1, the A’s scratched three more runs across despite only recording one hit in the inning, although it should be noted that the Angels helped some. Walks, errors, and a pair of sacrifice flies allowed Pinder, Chapman, and Davis to score.
After a two-run Trout homer, the Angels had cut the deficit to 6-3, but Piscotty got one of those runs back in the 7th by depositing one into the left field seats for Oakland’s seventh run. All said and done, every Athletic in the starting lineup reached base at least once except Phegley.
No Way, Shohei
Shohei Ohtani has been a tremendous thorn in the Oakland’s side since he came to the big leagues last year. Leading up to Thursday, he had been bullying the A’s for a week and a half - a clutch single, a pair of clutch walks, and a monster home run by Ohtani were some of the key moments in recent A’s-Angels contests.
Tonight, the A’s finally managed to subdue him. He did have a hit and a run, but in the bottom of the 7th he came up with two men on base and Liam Hendriks managed to force a groundout. Overall, he was 1-4 on the night.
Mike Fiers pitched six solid innings, allowing a homer to Trout, but little else. He allowed three runs in total and recorded zero walks. Hendriks, Buchter, Trivino, and Soria followed up Fiers by combining for three innings and one run allowed, which was a welcome sight to behold after a disastrous bullpen effort the previous night.
The A’s showed some heart bouncing back after a devastating loss and claiming the series rubber match. Just about everybody got in on the action for the second straight night, which bodes well for the upcoming series against Texas.