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Athletics top Angels 7-3

Oakland’s rookie starter had a night to remember

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Athletics won their penultimate game of the year tonight, beating the Angels by a comfortable final score of 7-3. That’s 50 wins for the club, a nice little milestone for a tough year.

It didn’t take long for the action to get going tonight. Second baseman Zack Gelof, hitting in the #2 hole tonight, blasted a solo home run to give the Green & Gold a quick 1-0 lead:

Meanwhile rookie starter Joe Boyle brought his A+ game tonight. Through the first five innings Boyle didn’t allow a single hit, and only walked one batter while striking out five Angels hitters. He was looking to finish his season on a high note and he did that through the first half of the game tonight.

And he was being efficient too. Through those five hitless frames Boyle had only thrown 59 pitches. Very economical outing so far from the rookie.

Still, it was only a one run lead. The offense went ice cold aside from Gelof’s first inning home run, only collecting one more hit and walk apiece over the next six frames. Boyle was on fire tonight but he would need to continue to be.

And Boyle owes a lot of his outing tonight to shortstop Nick Allen. The young infielder made several plays tonight that probably saved Boyle’s no-hitter attempt, let alone the lead. Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

There were more plays that Allen made that not every major-league shortstop would make but Allen’s glove has never really been in question. Boyle sure appreciated having the glove-first Allen behind him in the middle infield tonight.

It was exciting to hope for the no-no while it lasted but realistically it was always a long shot. Boyle finally allowed his first hit of the game all the way in the seventh when center fielder Esteury Ruiz’s diving catch attempt came up short. The no-hitter attempt was over but Boyle still had a chance at the win. Instead, with runners at second and third he allowed a sac fly to tie the game (his first career run allowed), and then the next Angel batter Logan O’Hoppe blasted a 2-run shot to give Anaheim the lead. Going from a no-hitter attempt to a possible loss can’t feel good.

Boyle ultimately finished the inning but that was it from the rookie right-hander. And what an end to a 2023 season it was for Boyle. After only joining the club at the trade deadline Boyle has put himself squarely in the competition for a rotation job come spring ‘24. Nexy time we see him with the club will be only his fourth appearance in the major leagues.

Suddenly down a couple runs the bats finally woke up a bit. An error, single, and walk loaded the bases for the Athletics with no outs in the top of the eighth. A perfect opportunity for a comeback. But most importantly, fans were treated to a little bit of history in the midst of all this:

With just one game to go, Ruiz might not even get the opportunity to finish the job and top Lofton’s rookie record for stolen bases. Still, tying it is an accomplishment on its own and something Ruiz shouldn’t be shy about. Let’s just hope he gets a chance tomorrow in the season finale.

With the bases loaded, the source of the A’s only run today came up to bat again. Gelof came up to the plate and snuck a ball the other way for an RBI single, bringing in a run and keeping the line going:

Oakland got a little help from the Angels for the next run when the Los Angeles pitcher balked to bring in the tying run. Hey, any way you can score, right?

The club didn’t end up even needing that help though as catcher Shea Langeliers blasted a go-ahead 3-run home run, a lead the A’s wouldn’t give up tonight:

That’s #22 on the year for Langeliers. There’s a lot to be desired from Langeliers on the offensive side but power isn’t one of the issues. And considering this was his first full major league season, we can realistically expect some more growth from him next season. Should be interesting to see how they split time between him and Tyler Soderstrom next season. Oakland added an extra insurance run in the ninth thanks to another Gelof RBI hit but they didn’t really need it.

With the no-hitter over, it was time to take Boyle out of the game, and he was in line for his second career win in just three starts. Righty Dany Jimenez was first out of the ‘pen and had a scoreless appearance in the eighth, and then it was Trevor May time. Oakland’s closer had a perfect 1-2-3 ninth inning to secure the win for the A’s, their 50th of the season.

Back in the win column heading into the final day of the season. Not the type of season the club wanted or intended but still, considering how tough this year was finishing on a high note would feel really good heading into the long winter. Joe Boyle looks like he’s ready to seriously push for a rotation spot come spring training, and there are lots of young bats that seem like they’re on the cusp of taking the next step. As long as of a year as it’s been, it feels like the building blocks of the next A’s playoff team is slowly assembling.

Oakland finishes the season tomorrow afternoon against these Angels. It’ll be lefty JP Sears taking the ball for the A’s in the season finale while Los Angeles has yet to announce a starter. Let’s finish the year with a win!