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Game #112: A’s drop series finale, swept by Angels

One of the new guys impressed, though

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

The A’s lost the final game of the three game series to Los Angeles, falling 5-4 to the Angels in 12 innings.

The starting pitcher for Oakland was excellent in his first start with the club, which is especially encouraging considering he was one of the main pieces of the Montas trade. And a couple clutch hits from the offense helped stretch this game out as long as it did. They just fell a couple more clutch hits short, though.

*** Click here to revisit today’s Game Thread! ***

It was a pitching duel for the first half of of this game between the starting pitchers. For the A’s, it was the newly acquired JP Sears on the bump for Oakland and he impressed in his first start for the club. After a one-out Shohei Ohtani single in the top of the first, Sears locked in and sat down the next 15 Angels in a row. He only struck out three on the day, but he also didn’t walk anyone.

As good as Sears was, the bats couldn’t get him any run support. They put a pair of runners on in the first and fourth innings but couldn’t cash in on either scoring chance.

After getting the first out of the sixth, back-to-back singles against Sears brought up Ohtani for his third at-bat and manager Mark Kotsay didn’t want Sears facing him again, pulling the rookie lefty in favor of another left-handed in Sam Moll.

-JP Sears: 5 13 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 72 pitches

While he wasn’t considered the centerpiece of the Montas trade, Sears shouldn’t have been as overlooked as he seems to have been. The final line doesn’t look as impressive as he was on the mound today after both of his final hits came around to score. The lefty has probably earned another start after today’s performance.

With a lefty on lefty matchup favoring the pitcher, Moll struck out Ohtani to inch closer to escaping the inning, but then got tagged for a huge 3-run home run from Luis Rengifo to give the Angels the first runs of the game and the lead.

They couldn’t immediately answer back, but they did have a nice moment in the bottom half of the inning. Rookie outfielder Cal Stevenson, making his MLB debut in front of a huge fan club of his, led off the bottom of the sixth with a single for his first hit in the majors:

Hopefully many more to come from the Fremont native. The A’s loaded the bases with no outs and still couldn’t score, though, failing to cash in a single run down three runs.

They wouldn’t waste that type of opportunity again. The bottom of the seventh saw the A’s load the bases on the strength of three walks. With two down, though, they’d need a big hit. Enter Tony Kemp:

That bases-clearing double tied this game and got Sears off the hook for a potential loss.

The A’s bullpen kept the Angels off the board for the final couple innings, giving the bats a chance to take the lead and start the coming road trip on a happy note. A.J. Puk in particular had a solid day:

Outfielder Ramon Laureano smacked a leadoff double in the eighth for a golden opportunity for the club to take the lead but again Oakland failed to take advantage of a runner in scoring position with no outs, stranding him at third. Neither team got a baserunner in the ninth, and this game was headed to extras.

With a ghost runner on second to start the 10th, Los Angeles outfielder Magneuris Sierra lined a single into right field that first baseman Seth Brown tried and failed to backhand, giving the Angels the lead.

The A’s had their own baserunner start the bottom half of the inning on second and a sac bunt moved him to third but the A’s were down to their last out and last strike. Laureano pulled his weight and then some today as he lined an RBI single to retire this game and ensure there would be an 11th inning.

Reliever Dany Jimenez had the top of the 11th and wiggled out of a tight jam to keep the Angels off the board, but the Oakland bats couldn’t do anything, either.

The top of the 12th went differently. It was Sierra again, and this time he hit an RBI double for his second go-ahead hit of the game. The A’s had come back to tie this game multiple times but couldn’t here as the team went down in order in the bottom half to end the game, series, and home stand.

So not the best way to head into a road trip, but the club will have an off day tomorrow to clear their heads of this tough series. They head to Houston to begin a series against the division rival Astros. See you all then!