It’s a winning streak! And a scoreless streak too.
The Oakland A’s won their third game in a row Friday night, and for the second straight evening they did so by blanking the Los Angeles Angels, this time by a 2-0 margin. Halfway through their four-game weekend series in Anaheim, with 18 innings of play in the books, the Halos are yet to score a run against Oakland pitching.
*** Click here to revisit tonight’s Game Thread! ***
At this point, it’s rarely a question of whether the A’s starter was good, but rather which starter took their turn dominating that night. In this case it was Chris Bassitt, the All-Star of the rotation, bouncing back after a rare rough outing last weekend in Seattle.
The right-hander worked seven sparkling innings, never even letting the Angels reach third base. Twice he found himself with a pair of runners on base, but both times he struck out rookie Brandon Marsh to escape it. The Halos splurged by hitting the ball hard four times against him, twice as many as they managed against last night’s starter.
- Bassitt: 7 ip, 0 runs, 7 Ks, 1 BB, 6 hits, 95 pitches, 86.2 mph EV
This is the third time he’s faced the Angels this year, and he’s allowed two runs total. Last time he pitched against them he threw a shutout.
- Bassitt, 3 starts vs. LAA: 0.76 ERA, 23⅔ ip, 2 runs, 24 Ks, 3 BB, 13 hits
The A’s defense also chipped in behind Bassitt with several fine plays. One particular highlight came in the 6th, with Oakland clinging to a one-run lead. Shohei Ohtani led off with a single and then attempted to steal second base, but catcher Sean Murphy threw him out. Bassitt revealed later that he had a hunch Ohtani would run, and it’s a good thing they got him because two of the next three batters singled.
@C_Bass419 | #RiseAndGrind pic.twitter.com/aSv0iBhaXM— Oakland A's (@Athletics) July 31, 2021
The bullpen took care of the final two frames, and just like last night it was Sergio Romo in the 8th and Lou Trivino in the 9th. They retired six of their seven batters with minimal drama, though Trivino did let an Angels runner reach third base — the first time that’s happened in this series.
Just enough scoring
The A’s had a quiet night at the plate themselves, but they were able to scratch out a couple runs and that was enough to support Bassitt.
Oakland loaded the bases in the 2nd inning but got nothing, then loaded them in the 4th and barely got something when Mark Canha walked to force home a run. That lone tally held up until the 8th, when Matt Chapman went deep to provide a valuable insurance run.
July 31, 2021
Among the rest of the lineup, Elvis Andrus reached base all four times up (two singles, two walks), and Jed Lowrie did so three times (two singles, one walk). But Tony Kemp went 0-for-4 with an uncharacteristic four strikeouts, including twice with the bases loaded, and new addition Starling Marte went 0-for-4 and struck out with the bases loaded after Canha’s walk.
Not a great offensive performance overall, but it was enough. And there’s more help on the way this weekend.
The A’s lost a lot of close games in July, including some real coin-flip affairs. Tonight they locked down a narrow one without any weird stuff going wrong at the end. They’ll need to step it up even further against some tougher opponents, but they’re certainly getting themselves back on track as the end of the month approaches.
The rotation is still great, they’ve shuffled their bullpen setup crew and identified a new 8th-inning reliever in Romo, and the lineup just added threw productive veteran bats via trades. Let’s do this!
Chris Bassitt is the ultimate hype man for the A's starting rotation pic.twitter.com/Fs1UyWzXD8— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 31, 2021