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A’s shut out Angels, seize season-opening series for first time since 2010

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A game-changing fourth inning that could have gone either way ended up playing in the A’s favor to help defeat the Angels 3-0 and, for the first time in a decade, lift Oakland to win their first series of the season.

The A’s (3-1) finally looked like a regular season team Monday, and Matt Chapman stole the show. After being walked in the third, Tony Kemp tried to steal second but Marcus Semien made contact to shallow right and reached for a double. With one out and runners in scoring position, Ramón Laureano hit a sacrifice fly to shallow left field but Kemp tagged up and scored to get a 1-0 lead.

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Chappy is back

Before Monday, Chapman had one hit over the first three games for a .083 average. Today, the beast unleashed, going 3-for-4 to account for half of the A’s hits. Chapman said:

“I was swinging pretty well so I was kinda pissed off that I started off so slow but hey, we took three of four from the Angels and that’s all that matters.”

Chapman started the day strong with a single in the first, then added to the fire in the third with a blast to deep center over Mike Trout‘s head to make it 2-0.

Canha get a bat flip

Mark Canha joined the action in the fourth inning when he hit a rocket to the second level, 425 feet into left field to bulge the lead to 3-0. It had been nine months since the baseball world was able to witness a classic Canha bat flip.

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Crazy fourth inning

Chris Bassitt had an impressive outing after dealing back-to-back strikeouts to Trout, one of the scariest batters in the league. The fourth inning was easily the most exciting inning of the series.

Jason Upton led off with a single. Tommy La Stella followed with a double to right-center which put runners in scoring position.

Melvin said Bassitt was set to throw around 70 pitches, and he may have gone a little longer but didn’t wanna push it and can trust their relievers to take pressure off the starters:

“He is the guy when he takes the mound we feel great … next time up we will probably get him closer to 85 or 90 but that was his limit today.”

Upton had been trying to steal the entire inning and may have gotten a little too confident. Albert Pujols hit a hard grounder to Chapman and Upton thought he could score on the play. This was not good base running and cost the Angels a run. Chapman saw Upton sprint for the plate and threw home to give the A’s their first out.

Jason Castro hit a single to load the bases, and Bob Melvin explained how huge of a moment this was:

“Big play there. When you have a close game there are always a couple plays that are big momentum swings and certainly that one and Bassitt’s double play was huge.”

The bullpen was getting warm, but Bassitt was able to somehow able to conjure up an escape of the inning. Andrelton Simmons hit a ground ball to Bassitt, who threw home. Rookie catcher Sean Murphy turned two when he stepped on the plate and threw to first to end the inning without a run.

Bullpen holds

The Oakland bullpen hasn’t allowed a run the last three games and currently boasts the second lowest ERA in baseball at 0.59. (The Cleveland Indians bullpen has yet to allow a run this season.)

Burch Smith (W, 1-0, 0.00 ERA) pitched a scoreless fifth and sixth. T.J McFarland got two outs and Yusmeiro Petit finished the seventh inning scoreless. Jake Diekman contributed in keeping the Angels scoreless in the eighth. Joakim Soria closed the ninth inning and allowed two baserunners, but struck out Trout to end the series.

Angels up and down

The Halos outhit the A’s 9-6 Monday but couldn’t make anything happen. Tommy La Stella and David Fletcher led the team with a pair of hits off Bassitt.

Griffin Canning (L, 0-1, 5.79 ERA) lasted 4-2/3 innings and finished the night with three runs off four hits, two walks and seven strikeouts. Peña came in the fifth inning with two outs and threw four strikeouts in a. row to end both the fifth and sixth inning. 

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Shohei Ohtani couldn’t flip the switch today after his awful 30-pitch first inning yesterday, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts as DH. His third strikeout of the game left him visibly frustrated. Trout was 0-for-3 with a walk and back-to-back strikeouts during his first two at-bats. Fletcher was 1-for-3 with a walk. 

Up Next

The A’s host the Colorado Rockies Tuesday night at 6:40 p.m. Daniel Mengden will face off Antonio Senzatela for a two-game series where two of the leagues best third basemen will share the field.

Notes

Andrelton Simmons injured in the ninth inning sprinting to first base where he was safe but had to leave the game. … Earlier Monday, the Miami Marlins postponed their game against Baltimore due to at least as 13 positive Covid-19 test results among players and coaches. Monday’s Phillies-Yankees game was also postponed to allow for sanitizing of the visiting clubhouse in Philadelphia.


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