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A’s chase Ohtani after 30 pitches, hold off Trout onslaught for 6-4 win

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After not pitching all of 2019, Shohei Ohtani made his 2020 debut on the mound in Oakland on Sunday. It lasted just 30 pitches and zero outs, though after a five-run A’s first inning, Mike Trout and Matt Andriese made it close but the A’s emerged on top, 6-4. 

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The nightmare inning started with a leadoff single from Marcus Semien, who stood on first base and watched the next three batters walk him home for a 1-0 lead. After three straight walks, Mark Canha singled to bring in two runs, and Grossman followed with a single making it 4-0 early, with no outs.

With the bases loaded, Andriese quickly woke Angels fans up and only allowed one more run in the first. The A’s couldn’t score another run with Andriese on the mound, though it only took one pitch after he was relieved for the A’s to get their final run of the game.

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Oakland starter Mike Fiers (ND, 4 IP, 4 ER, 9.00 ERA) was able to get out of his own rocky first inning after he allowed two hits from leadoff hitter David Fletcher and Mike Trout.

Fiers began the third inning in a similar fashion, and couldn’t pitch out of it. Goodwin led off the inning with a base hit to right and Fletcher followed. With two men on and no outs, Fiers met Sean Murphy on the mound knowing Trout was his next batter. Whatever they discussed wasn’t enough, as Trout did what he does best, put up a dinger, just over the left field wall to make it 5-3.

Goodwin reached on an infield single to Semien to get the fifth inning started. Semien sprinted to scoop up one of the lowest exit velocity hits of the game and either couldn’t make the throw or Olson couldn’t make one of his gold glove magic scoops. No error was recorded on the play, and Goodwin would have been safe regardless. 

As Goodwin broke for second, Fletcher made perfect contact and got the ball in the gap vacates by A’s second baseman Tony Kemp, who had reacted to cover the steal. Once again, there were two men on with no outs, and Trout was next up. The A’s were not looking for a repeat of the third inning and Fiers was relieved.

Yusmeiro Petit (W, 1-0, 0.00 ERA) relieved Fiers and coaxed Trout to hit a sacrifice fly to deep center near the 400-foot sign to make it 5-4. Petit got the A’s out of the fifth with a one-run lead.

Noé Ramirez relieved Andreise in the sixth inning, and A’s catcher Sean Murphy saw his first pitch and liked it. Murphy raked the curveball 455 feet to left for his first home run of the season, putting the A’s up 6-4. 

After LHP T.J. McFarland pitched a perfect sixth, Joakim Soria pitched the seventh and struck out Mike Trout swinging at a nasty slider, leaving Fletcher on first to end the inning. Liam Hendriks earned his first save of the 2020 season, holding the Angels scoreless in the eighth and ninth. 

Ohtani (L, 0-1, ∞ ERA) couldn’t complete the first inning after facing just six batters. The Japanese megastar gave up five runs off three hits and three walks without a single out in his first mound appearance since an elbow injury relegated him to DH duty for the 2019 season.

Andriese pitched 5-2/3 innings and only allowed three hits and a walk in his 69 pitches that concluded with five strikeouts and zero earned runs.

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Angels lead off hitter David Fletcher had four straight singles and a stolen base on Sunday. Fletcher led the Angels last season in games played, hits, and doubles, and put up the second best batting average. Sunday he was constantly setting the table for Trout, who went 0-for-4 Saturday but made up for it today.

Up Next

Chris Bassitt faces Angels Griffin Canning tomorrow at 12:40 p.m.

Notes

Fletcher was 4-for-4 with a stolen base. … Mike Trout was responsible for bringing in all four Angels runs. … A’s designated hitters have yet to get a hit in 2020. Khris Davis and Vimael Machín are a combined 0-for-10 with two walks and one run. … Fletcher and Trout made up more than half of the Angels nine hits. `


Simone McCarthy is SFBay’s Oakland Athletics beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @SimoneMcCarthy0 on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of A’s baseball.

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