Oakland A’s pitcher Chris Bassitt (40) who started and threw for five innings was one of six pitchers who combined in a nine hit shutout of the Los Angeles Angels at the Oakland Coliseum on Monday afternoon (athleticsnation.com)
By Jerry Feitelberg
Oakland- The Oakland A’s beat the Los Angeles Angels 3-0 to take three out four to start the 2020 season with a 3-1 record. The Angels had Albert Pujols back in the lineup after giving him the day off on Sunday.
Also back in the lineup was Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani, who pitched yesterday, was the designated hitter. Ohtani typically has the day off after throwing. He did not get out of the first inning and did not retire a hitter.
The A’s sent righty Chriss Bassitt to the hill to face the Angels. Bassitt was making his first start of the year. The Angels countered with Griffin Canning. Bassitt had his work cut out for him.
The A’s pitchers have to work hard to retire the Angels hitters. The Angels lineup with David Fletcher, Mike Trout, Justin Upton, Ohtani, and Tommy LaStella can make life rough for any pitcher. A’s manager Bob Melvin had a 70 pitch limit for Bassitt on Monday. Bassitt threw a lot of pitches in the first and second innings and left the game after four innings of work.
The A’s drew first blood in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, second baseman Tony Kemp walked. Marcus Semien beat the shift as he singled to right-center to send Kemp to third. Ramon Laureano hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Kemp with the first run of the game. Semien tagged up and advanced to second on the play. A’s third baseman Matt Chapman doubled to deep centerfield to drive in Semien with the inning’s second run. The A’s lead 2-0 after three complete.
In the top of the fourth, the Angels blew an excellent opportunity to get on the board and possibly tie the game. Justin Upton led off the frame with a single. Tommy LaStella, who loves to hit against the A’s, doubled to send Upton to third.
The next hitter, future Hall of Famer, Albert Pujols hit a rocket to third baseman Matt Chapman. Chappie, sure-handed as ever, picked up the ball, and his throw home got Upton trapped in a rundown. A’s catcher Sean Murphy tagged Upton for the out.
LaStella could not advance to third on the play. Angels’ catcher Jason Castro singled to load the bases with one out. Bassitt got out of the inning when he got Andrelto Simmons to ground out into a 1-2-3 double play. The A’s bullpen did their job and held the Angels scoreless the rest of the way.
Mark Canha led off the bottom of the fourth with his first home run of the year to make it 3-0. That ended the scoring for the A’s. The Angels threatened in the ninth as they had two men on with two out. A’s reliever, Joakim Soria, had to face the American League MVP Mike Trout. Trout could tie the game with one swing of the bat.
Soria struck him out looking. Trout argued the call but to no avail. The A’s win 3-0. Game Notes- The A’s bullpen continued their outstanding work again on Monday. In four games, they have given up just one run.
The A’s used five relievers. Burch Smith, who took over for Bassitt in the fifth, worked two innings and received credit for his second win. T.J.McFarland, Yusmeiro Petit, Jake Diekman, and Soria all saw action.
A’s manager Bob Melvin said the play that changed the game’s momentum was Chapman’s throw to nail Upton. it was a “big swing.” Melvin said this about Chris Bassitt: “we feel good when he’s on the mound.”
The big news around baseball was the story about the 14 people in the Miami Marlin organization that became infected with Covid-19. So far, 11 players and three other personnel contracted the disease.
The Marlins tested the players after yesterday’s game with the Phillies, and results are expected back today. The Marlins’ games with the Baltimore Orioles have been postponed. The Phillies and Yankees games were also postponed. Melvin’s comment about the outbreak was succinct: “it worries you.” The A’s host the Colorado Rockies Tuesday night at the Oakland Coliseum. Game time will be at 6:40 pm.