The A’s kicked off the final series of their inaugural homestand tonight against the Cleveland Guardians at a cold and windy Oakland Coliseum. The Guardians (3-1) sent righty Zach Plesac to the mound, while righty James Kaprielian got the start for the Athletics (1-2).
The Guardians jumped on “Kap” early when Steven Kwan, a nearby Fremont native, doubled, Jose Ramirez walked, and Josh Naylor singled to center scoring Kwan. Andres Gimenez then doubled to right field scoring Ramirez.
Jace Peterson got things started for the A’s with a walk. Seth Brown moved him to third with a sky-high pop up that fell between three Guardian defenders. Conner Capel then drove in the first run of the night with an infield single to the second baseman. At the end of the first inning the score was 2-1, Guardians.
The A’s struck again in the second when Ryan Noda got his first major league hit with a single to center. Shea Langeliers moved him to third with a single to left field. Esteury Ruiz doubled to left field driving in Noda to tie the game at 2 apiece. Tony Kemp singled, driving in Langeliers. Peterson then sent Plesac to the showers early with a 3-run blast to right field. That was his first homer as a member of the A’s.
A’s manager Mark Kotsay was hoping his bats would come alive tonight and threw a lineup of five lefties at Plesac. The A’s six runs in the first two innings doubled their scoring output for the first four games of 2023.
Josh Naylor jumped on Kaprielian’s first pitch of the fourth inning for a long homer to right center field. Myles Straw drove in two more runs before “Kap” got the final out. That ended his night with the score 6-5.
The A’s got two of those runs back when Conner Capel singled and Ramon Laureano hit a monster home run, his second of the year to bring the score to 8-5. The Guardians struck again in the top of the sixth with a two-run rally against Jeurys Familia, tightening the gap to 8-7.
Cleveland grabbed the lead in the top of the eighth inning battling for two runs off of A’s reliever Domingo Acevedo 10-8. Seth Brown tied the score with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning with a long homer to center field off of the Guardians’ masterful closer Emmanuel Clase. The righty had 42 saves in 2022 and gave up only three homers all season long.
The homer sent both teams to their first extra-inning game this season. Each team begins every inning after the ninth with an automatic runner on second base; the rule that was implemented in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
The Guardians scored two runs to jump out to a 12-10 lead in their half of the tenth. The A’s got one run back in the bottom of the tenth, but fell short 12-11. The teams will be back at it tomorrow at 6:40 p.m.