The theme of the Oakland A’s weekend series against the Los Angeles Angels was the Big Inning, and unfortunately the Angels created the bigger one on Sunday.
The Halos put up four runs in the 2nd inning and the A’s couldn’t catch up for the rest of the afternoon, falling 4-2 and settling for a split in their four-game matchup at the Coliseum.
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On Thursday the A’s won while scoring all their runs in the 6th inning, and on Saturday the Angels did the same thanks solely to a crooked number in the 5th. The Halos took another turn today, tallying four in the 2nd inning and then cruising the rest of the way.
Oakland had Cole Irvin on the mound, looking to bounce back from a couple rough starts against the Astros and Mariners. But the lefty ran into trouble early, serving up a solo homer to lead off the 2nd and then a string of four hits sandwiched around a sac bunt to bring home three more runs. There wasn’t a lot of hard contact involved, but it was a legit rally by the Angels.
A Juan Lagares foul ball shattered a window pic.twitter.com/wFw01WEu1f— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) May 30, 2021
On the bright side, Irvin settled down from there. After the final RBI hit, he retired 14 of his next 15 batters, and the only one who reached base in that span did so on a play so close that it was initially ruled a groundout and then (correctly) overturned on replay. The Halos actually won two replay reviews in that 4th inning, and indeed deserved to win both of them, but Irvin battled through and kept getting outs. By the time he was done, he’d managed to finish six frames despite the shaky beginning.
- Irvin: 6 ip, 4 runs, 3 Ks, 0 BB, 1 HR, 6 hits, 85 pitches, 83.2 mph EV
No walks, and a ton of weak contact. Scatter those hits a bit better and maybe he only allows one or two runs in this game.
The bullpen held serve the rest of the way. Burch Smith and Cam Bedrosian each worked an inning, and then Jesús Luzardo made his first appearance since coming off the injured list this morning and pitched a scoreless 9th.
At least it wasn’t a shutout?
With the bar set within reach at four runs, the A’s lineup had another quiet day and weren’t able to clear it. They improved from Saturday, when they were shut out on three hits, but only barely as this time they scored two runs on four hits.
Oakland stranded runners in scoring position in the first two innings but broke through in the 3rd. An error put the leadoff batter on base, and then starter Jose Quintana walked the next three to load ‘em up and force one home. A sac fly scored a second run, with both counting as unearned.
Murph makes that 2 #RiseAndGrind pic.twitter.com/dPiERECtRB— Oakland A's (@Athletics) May 30, 2021
Salvaging those two runs meant the A’s were close for the rest of the day, just a bloop and a blast away from tying it up. But the Halos bullpen put up zeroes for six innings to seal the deal, with only three more runners reaching base the rest of the way.
Not helping the offensive output is that the green-and-gold didn’t hit any homers for the entire four-game series, which is an odd quirk for a team among the American League leaders in dingers.
Settle for a split
After winning the first two games of the series, Oakland had a chance for a big weekend against an AL West division rival. Settling for a split isn’t bad, but against a mediocre Angels team that’s missing Mike Trout, you hope for more. They won’t have to dwell on it for long, though, as they’ll head up to Seattle for a Memorial Day game against the Mariners tomorrow afternoon.
lol the seagulls are ready to take over the Coli pic.twitter.com/jcjukSzTPl— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) May 30, 2021