The Oakland A’s opened a three-game series against the NL Central’s Chicago Cubs Monday at the Oakland Coliseum. The Cubs, (8-6) have won seven of their last ten games and took two of three from the Dodgers on the first half of the west coast road trip. Mother nature welcomed the ball club with a break from chilly Chicago weather with chilly for the bay temperature of 55 degrees but with 15 mph Chicagoland-type wind gusts.
Esteury Ruiz, who entered today’s game leading all American League rookies in batting average, hits, and doubles, led off the A’s half of the first with a base hit. Noda drove him to third with a base hit to center field. Aledmys Diaz hit into a force out, but that drove in Ruiz. At the end of the first the A’s jumped out to a 1-0 lead.
The lead did not last long, as Patrick Wisdom took a 93-mph 4-seam fastball from Muller deep into left field for his seventh homer of the year and his fourth in his last four games. That tied the game at 1-1.
Shea Langeliers and Conner Capel effectively executed the hit and run driving Langeliers to third with just one out. But two flyouts ended the threat.
Oakland native Nico Hoerner walked with one out in the top of the third inning. Free agent signee Dansby Swanson drove the speedy Hoerner to third with a single to left field. Seiya Suzuki singled with two outs to drive in Hoerner. Muller induced a force-out by Mancini to end the inning, but not before the Cubs took the lead 2-1.
Cody Bellinger doubled in the top of the fourth inning and Yan Gomes singled to drive him in. That gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead. Nick Madrigal doubled, driving Gomes to third. Hoerner drove Gomes in with a base hit. Dansby Swanson followed with a walk. Hoerner and Swanson advanced with a perfectly executed a double steal, and Ian Happ singled to bring both baserunners home. Once again, a big inning and high pitch count doomed an A’s starter. Muller left after 98 pitches trailing 6-1, but with bases loaded and no outs in the top of the fifth inning. Jeurys Familia and his 8.10 ERA came and induced two ground balls to the shortstop Kevin Smith and one to Aledmys Diaz for force outs to shut the Cubs down.
The Cubs added to their lead in the top of the eighth inning with a pair of singles and an Ian Happ sacrifice fly scoring Nico Hoerner to make it 7-1. Patrick Wisdom who played for three seasons at nearby St. Mary’s College in Moraga then hit his second homer of the night, a three-run blast to straight away centerfield, to make it 10-1.
Chad Smith got the final four outs of the game for the A’s, shutting down the Cubs scoring.
A’s pitchers gave up twenty hits to the Cubs sluggers in this series opener. The teams will be back at it tomorrow at 6:40 p.m. PDT.
On this date in Oakland Athletics history:
1968 - The A’s debut at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum by losing 4-1 to the Baltimore Orioles. They would finish the season 82-80, their first winning record since 1952, when they were still playing in Philadelphia.