On a gorgeous Oakland day for baseball, in front of practically no one, Dylan Bundy did what Sean Manaea couldn’t: Keep his solid start going beyond the fifth inning, mowing down A’s batters into the seventh on his way to a 4-1 Angels win.
Manaea (L, 0-1, 7.70 ERA) lasted 54 pitches, jumping ahead of batters with first-pitch strikes and inducing groundouts or strikeouts for 10 of the first 12 Angels batters.
But in a game-changing fifth inning, Robbie Grossman had a questionable moment in left that didn’t help. David Fletcher smashed a ball deep to the left field warning track that Grossman was able to get under, but at the last second decided to catch it on the bounce for a double, driving in a run.
Melvin defended Grossman on what may have been the biggest-game changing play Saturday. Though it seemed the ball could have been caught and the outcome of the game may have been different, Melvin said he didn’t think Grossman was playing it safe on the decisive outfield play:
“I thought he had a decent route on it. Center field can be hard with the sun. When he hit it I thought it was going to be a hit.”
Bob Melvin was impressed with Manaea’s start despite the fifth inning:
“He was great. He had what? 39 or 40 pitches going into the fifth. It just happened pretty quickly, three batters he got some balls in the middle of the plate which he hadn’t been doing and next thing you know we had to get him out.”
Dylan Bundy (W, 1,0, 1.35 ERA) made his Angels debut, pitching as if it were a regular mid-season game.
Bundy held Oakland scoreless with just two hits up until the seventh inning. Catcher Austin Allen had the first hit of the game in the third with a base hit. Bundy’s pitch count had entered the 90s when Piscotty roped a double into the left-field corner with two outs. Keyan Middleton relieved Bundy after 6-2/3 innings and two singles, a double and seven strikeouts.
Up 1-0 after a solo Justin Upton home run in the fourth, the Angels (1-1) advanced their lead to 4-0 in the fifth. Manaea gave up a leadoff base hit to Fletcher and was able to get the next two batters out. Max Stassi brought back the rhythm with a base hit to left, and three runs followed.
The A’s (1-1) were able to scratch across their sole run in the seventh inning when as Grossman line brought in Piscotty in the seventh. Grossman finished with two steals and landed on third after a wild pitch, but was unable to score. He was one of six Oakland runners left on base.
Manaea didn’t really have an answer for what went wrong in the fifth inning, saying it was just one of those starts:
“I started off hot and things ran out of steam … Ya, I don’t really know just kinda ran out of steam I guess.”
J.B, Wendelken relieved Manaea with two outs in the fifth and had to face the best hitter in baseball, Mike Trout, with a man on second. Wendelken was able to force a pop-up to shallow right, where both Chad Pinder and Stephen Piscotty sprinted with Piscotty making a sliding catch to end the three-run fifth inning.
Jesus Luzardo came in and finished with two strikeouts, one walk and one hit against a very impressive offense that didn’t score a single run off him in three innings.
Luzardo said he like he is ready in terms of strength and how his arm feels:
“Just being able to show that I was ready and my arm feels good. I am physically ready for what is to come.”
He said he is ready to get back into the rotation and, today, he set out to prove it. It’s not his decision, of course, and he will pitch wherever he is needed.
Luzardo followed a perfect sixth inning by giving up a double to La Stella off the wall in deep right-center, but strong infield defense was able to keep him from scoring.
Ty Buttrey came in to pitch the eighth for the Angels. The A’s bats started flowing but they couldn’t close the gap. Marcus Semien had his first and only hit of the day on a single to third that David Fletcher was unable to make a play on.
Laureano has so far had the most consistent at-bats in the first two games of the season. He singled on a line drive to right-field for his second hit of the day, but Chapman grounded into a double play and the inning ended with Semien left on third.
Mike Trout went 0-for-4, starting the season with an un-Trout-like .143 batting average . … Angels closer Hansel Robles (S, 0-1, 7.71 ERA) picked up his first save of the season after taking the loss Friday night . … The Houston Astros lead the AL West with a 2-0 record.