Well, that was a baseball game I guess. Chris Smith will have to keep hunting for his first win as a starter, as he gives up 5 runs in the 1st and 6 runs total before leaving in the 4th inning. Offensively, the A’s just didn’t get anything done all night.
Defense played a big role in the first few innings. Chris Smith took the mound for Oakland in the bottom of the 1st and yielded a Cameron Maybin leadoff double, same as last night. After a single which drove home the speedy Maybin (1-0) and a Pujols walk, Lowrie booted a perfect double play ball. Semien was able to field it and toss to second base for at least one out, so while it wasn’t technically an error, it was certainly a missed opportunity defensively. It would prove impactful. A sac fly made it 2-0, with a mistaken throw by Boog Powell that allowed Kole Calhoun to get to second. Then a walk, and a CJ Cron home run. 5-0. Sigh. If Lowrie had fielded the ball cleanly, Smith theoretically could have escaped the inning with just the 1 run. Instead, it was 5 (earned) runs and a game that felt deflated right off the bat.
Smith got through the 2nd and 3rd innings with only one baserunner, but defense came back to haunt the A’s again in the 4th. Martín Moldanado homered, as he tends to do against us. He is a soft-hitting right-handed catcher, after all. 6 runs for the Angels. Then Cameron Maybin reached second base after Matt Chapman rushed his throw and sent it sailing over Olson’s head. Maybin is fast, but Chapman is faster and shouldn’t have gotten flustered. Chris Smith was pulled after 3 2/3 innings, and Simon Castro finally came in after warming up since the 1st inning. Ben Revere hit an RBI single up the middle and Maybin scored easily to make it 7 for the Angels.
Bullpen Gets By
The A’s bullpen did not make it look easy by any means, but they ultimately managed to pitch 5 1⁄3 innings and only give up 1 run - a leadoff home run surrendered by Michael Brady in the 8th (again to CJ Cron). Apparently it was Brady’s 5th time in 11 innings that he gave up a home run to the first batter he faced. Fun.
Simon Castro did most of the heavy lifting, finishing the 4th for Smith and then taking the 5th and 6th. He loaded the bases on walks in the 5th before escaping with a double play, then had a 1-2-3 6th. Liam Hendriks had the 7th and yielded a double to Andrelton Simmons, but no runs.
A’s Offense: 2 Solo Shots, Not Much Else
In the 2nd inning, the A’s got a couple of runs back from the Angels and threatened to make things interesting. Matt Joyce homered to make it 5-1, then a couple batters later Matt Olson hit a homer of his own - not even on a good swing! It bounced off the top of the wall and Mike Scioscia challenged, resulting in maybe the shortest review we’ve ever seen. For once a call stood in favor of the A’s: 5-2.
Unfortunately, that was it. The A’s would not score for the rest of the night, despite multiple opportunities. They loaded the bases with two outs in the 3rd before Matt Joyce made the final out, then got a couple runners on in the 4th before Pinder (replacing Powell - maybe due to his mistargeted throw in the 1st?) struck out. Jesse Chavez mostly coasted for the middle innings, and when the A’s finally threatened with a couple baserunners against him in the 8th, Cam Bedrosian came in and cleaned things up. Maxwell had himself a great day with a single and a couple walks, but otherwise there’s just nothing besides the two solo shots. We couldn’t get a clutch hit when we needed one.
The A’s play to avoid the sweep tomorrow - same time.