The Oakland Athletics started the shortened 2020 season against a familiar American League West foe the Los Angeles Angels.
Frankie Montas earned the opening day start. He managed to strike out three batter, yet it took 28 pitches while needing to escape a bases loaded situation. Brian Knight who was calling balls and strikes did not have a particularly good game.
For Montas his wildness cost him a run in the fourth. He walked two after getting a ground out. Then gave up a two out rbi single to Brian Goodwin. Fortunately for the A’s Jason Castro got thrown out at home to end the inning.
Andrew Heaney got the nod for the Angels. He pitched well in his 4.2 innings of work, he struck out six and allowed only two hits. His only blemish a solo home run given up to Ramon Laureano.
Neither offenses got much going once it became a bullpen game. The Angels took the lead again after a two base error by Matt Chapman. Two sacrifice flies allowed Andrelton Simmons to score.
Oakland took advantage in the eighth inning with Marcus Semien drawing a walk. Laureano sending a double down the right field line to tie the game. Chapman then hit a rbi triple to give the A’s the lead.
Chapman then got thrown out trying to score on a wild pitch that bounced right back to Castro.
Liam Hendriks got the ninth inning and it became an eventful one. He got Albert Pujols to ground out. It appeared that Castro struck out on a perfectly thrown pitch except it got called a ball by Knight. The next pitch a fastball down the middle that became a game tying home run. Simmons then singled, Goodwin drew a walk and David Fletcher struck out looking on a beautifully placed fastball on the outside corner.
This brought up Mike Trout with two runners on. What did A’s manager Bob Melvin do? The inexplicable. He had him walked intentionally to bring up Shohei Ohtani with the bases loaded? How did Hendriks respond? He struck him out on three pitches.
Now Major League Baseball history got made as it became the first game to ever use the new extra inning rule which meant a runner at second base to start the inning. Meaning Ohtani became the runner since he recorded the last out.
There’s no question it got interesting. Were the Angels going to bunt to get the speedy Ohtani over? No. Jared Walsh did pull the ball yet it was right to Matt Olson who immediately went to third with the throw and Chapman made an incredible pick to start a run down resulting in the out. Los Angeles did get the runner to second as Tommy LaStella singled. After a ground out, Castro got walked and the bases were loaded with two outs.
Simmons being overly aggressive with Smith helped him out by swinging at two pithches outside of the zone before eventually grounding out.
For Oakland Semien started on second since he made the last out in the ninth. Again questions of bunting were asked. Though not realistic with Laureano who already drove in two runs at the plate. He did get hit by a pitch from Hansel Robles.
With runners on first and second, Chapman struck out. Khris Davis ended up walking even with the Angels having five infielders and no one in left field. Robles got replaced with Hoby Milner a lefty to face Olson and it only took once pitch for him to end the with a walk-off grand slam.
OLY WALK-OFF GRAND SLAM 😱 pic.twitter.com/XYka0C3ebz
— A’s on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 25, 2020