The A’s kicked off their first interleague series of 2023 with the NL East’s New York Mets coming to the Oakland Coliseum for a three game series. Righty James Kaprielian got the nod for the series opener while the Mets sent righty Kodai Senga to the mound. Senga is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA and his “ghost forkball” has kept hitters completely off balance early in the season.
The Mets came into the game with the 28th ranked team batting average at .218, but top to bottom they have a dangerous offense which can erupt at any time. Kaprielian gave up two singles in the first inning but escaped without any real damage. He gave up five walks in the top of the second inning to drive in the first two runs of the game. Then Francisco Lindor cleared the bases with his third homer of the season and his first grand slam of 2023. It took Kaprielian 76 pitches to get through the third inning (only 41 were strikes).
Ryan Noda walked in the bottom of the third and Brent Rooker blooped a single into shallow right field scoring Noda. Ramon Laureano then singled, driving Rooker to third. But Jace Peterson struck out to end the threat.
Kaprielian came out for the fourth inning and promptly gave up a base hit to Brandon Nimmo. He then walked Starling Marte. After inducing a flyout to Lindor and a called third strike to Pete Alonso, his night was finished. His final line was 3.2 innings pitched with seven walks, four hits leading to six earned runs. Sam Moll replaced him and coaxed Jeff McNeil to line out softly to first baseman Ryan Noda.
Shea Langeliers tightened the game to 6-3 with a no-doubt homer to left field scoring Conner Capel who had singled. It was Langeliers’ third home run of the season. After his call-up earlier today, Hogan Harris was called upon to pitch the top of the fifth. The lefty’s debut comes after three minor league seasons in the A’s system. He too had trouble finding the strike zone, and walked three batters and then plunked Brandon Nimmo to drive in Eduardo Escobar. He then walked Starling Marte to drive in Luis Guillorme, bringing the score to 8-3. Francisco Lindor cleared the bases once again with a bases loaded double to left field. With the score 11-3, Harris walked Pete Alonso. That ended his dubious debut. Chad Smith hit McNeil to load the bases. Daniel Vogelbach hit into a fielder’s choice to score Lindor, and Escobar struck out to end the scoring and the inning. When the clay settled, the Mets had scored six runs in the fifth inning, bringing the score to 12-3.
Through five innings, the A’s hurlers walked a dozen Mets and nine of those walks came around to score. This is not a formula for success.
Aledmys Diaz got one of the runs back when he swatted a hanging curveball to deep left field for his first A’s home run. Conner Capel walked, chasing Senga in the bottom of the fifth inning. Langeliers singled to keep the inning alive. Esteury Ruiz singled to load the bases. But Tony Kemp struck out on three pitches to end the rally at 12-4.
The Mets padded their lead when Starling Marte doubled in Brandon Nimmo who had doubled with two outs in the sixth inning.
Brent Rooker hit his fourth homer of the year in the bottom of the sixth, bringing the score to 13-5. Shea Langeliers doubled off the right centerfield wall to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning for the A’s. Tony Kemp hit a sacrifice fly to Marte in right field to drive in Langeliers.
The Mets scored again in the top of the ninth after four consecutive walks by A’s reliever Jeurys Familia. Back-up catcher Carlos Perez relieved Familia and promptly gave up a double to Eduardo Escobar scoring two. Luis Guillorme singled, driving in Daniel Vogelbach, bringing the score to 17-6.
The seventeen walks by Athletics pitchers broke the record for an A’s nine inning game. The two teams will be back at it Saturday at the Coliseum.