The A’s dropped the third game of the 4-game series in Los Angeles, falling to the Angels
It didn’t take long for the scoring to start. Esteury Ruiz led off the game with a single, stole second base and advanced to third on a bad throw. Brent Rooker brought him in with a groundball chopper, staking the rookie starter to an early lead.
It was Luis Medina time. The rookie right hander took the mound and had a 3 up, 3 down bottom of the first, even striking out Mike Trout for his first career K.
Light work for Luis— Oakland A's (@Athletics) April 27, 2023
First career strikeout for Luis Medina! pic.twitter.com/NWK7WxCipe
Unfortunately things got worse in his second inning. Three straight hits gave Los Angeles the lead, then two doubles and a RBI groundout extended it. When the inning was done the Angels had scored 5 times.
Oakland cut into the lead the next inning when Kevin Smith hit a solo bomb, his second of the year:
Kevin Smith goes yard pic.twitter.com/ZnHWQzcnDX— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) April 27, 2023
Ruiz got back on base and stole a couple more bases but Oakland couldn’t push him across. Still, he’s super exciting when he’s on the base paths.
The Angels got to Medina again when Hunter Renfroe hit a leadoff home run in the third. He was lucky he didn’t give up more after giving up a couple more base runners. He had a much better fourth inning when he struck out Trout and Shohei Ohtani back-to-back during a clean fourth.
Oakland continued to try to claw back into this game. Three straight singles in the fifth inning brought in Oakland’s third run, courtesy of none other than Ruiz. Then he put himself in rare company with his fourth steal of the game:
Esteury Ruiz is the first A's player to steal four bases in one game since Rajai Davis on July 5, 2017 vs White Sox.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) April 27, 2023
Before that, Coco Crisp and Rickey Henderson were the only other A's players to do it.
Ruiz now has nine stolen bases this year with four coming tonight. I think Oakland has something special in our center fielder.
Los Angeles got that run right back and then some when Medina gave up another home run, a 2-run shot that pushed the Angels’ lead to 8-3. He got the next three batters to finish his day, ending on a high note with a strikeout of the final batter.
-Luis Medina: 5 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 3 BB, 6 K, 93 pitches
The hits and runs are hard to look at but Medina had a few moments tonight where we saw the massive potential. More encouraging is that he didn’t have so many walks, which is the larger concern for Medina moving forward. We don’t yet know if he’ll get another start for the club but one can imagine we’ll be seeing more of him this year.
Mark Kotsay turned to the bullpen to start the sixth, turning to former rotation member Shintaro Fujinami for his first relief appearance. A walk and single wouldn’t normally score a run but Rooker misplayed the hit in left field and allowed the ninth Angels runner to cross the plate. The defense made it right back up for Fuji when Aledmys Diaz made a great diving play at the hit corner to end the inning:
Díaz flashes the leather to help Fujinami pic.twitter.com/btlWmSvhjZ— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) April 27, 2023
Fuji pitched a clean bottom 7th and Chad Smith took over in the 8th and gave up a 2-run home run to Ohtani, bringing the score to its eventual final.
Oakland’s offense didn’t do anything else after the Ruiz RBI and went quietly against the Angels’ bullpen. They only had two walks and a double the rest of the game and finished with just six hits tonight. You won’t win many games like that.
The best Oakland can do now is split the series. They have the series finale tomorrow afternoon and could use a win to finish the road trip on a high note. It’ll be a tall task as JP Sears faces off against Shohei Ohtani. Let’s do it!