A’s Bassitt goes the distance to shutout Angels 5-0

The Oakland A’s starting pitcher Chris Bassitt throws to the Los Angeles Angels line up in the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on Thu May 27, 2021 (AP News photo)

Los Angeles (AL) 0 – 2 – 1

Oakland 5 – 10 – 0

By Lewis Rubman

Thu May 27, 2021

OAKLAND–This afternoon, the A’s announced the return from the Injured List of Mitch Moreland and the concomitant return to Las Vegas of Luis Barrera, who had a demi tasse of espresso with the club while Moreland was recuperating. Moreland’s BA in the 31 games he played before his injury.

More significant was his five game hitting streak, in which he went 6 for 18. was .237 with four home runs and 15 RBI. Moreland had hit safely in each of his last five contests (6-for-18, .333). His return gives Oakland a powerful left handed designated hitter and an experienced back up first baseman for Matt Olson, allowing the team to take greater advantage of the Chad Pinder, Mark Canha, and Jed Lowrie’s versatility.

The front office also announced the opening of the Coliseum to full capacity and the end of the ban on out of state customers, starting June 29. You can get tickets and information at athletics.com/tickets. Tickets also will be on sale game days at the Coliseum Box Office on game days.

Both of those announcements were good news. They also were expected. What was not expected was that Shoei Ohtani, who had been scheduled to be tonight’s starting pitcher for Los Angeles would arrive at the ball park too late to perform his warm up routine.

As a result, he was scratched as starting pitcher. This was not just disappointing; it also was somewhat ironic because tonight was Asian American Pacific Islanders Night. Instead of pitching, Ohtani became the Angels’ designated hitter, going 0 for 3. Southpaw Patrick Sandoval (0-1, 4.96) got the nod as the visitors’ emergency starter.

The Oakland A’s got a complete game out of starter Chris Bassitt for a 5-0 shutout over the Los Angeles Angels. Neither Sandoval nor Chris Bassitt (4-2, 3.69), who took to the mound for the A’s, is as glamorous Ohtani. Sandoval gave an excellent account of himself, throwing five innings of shutout ball, in which he allowed five hits and two walks while striking out four. He threw 84 pitches, 50 for strikes, before being replaced by Aaron Slegers at the start of the Oakland sixth.

Bassett is a good, solid hurler. He got off to a slow start this season, but in his last eight starts before toeing the rubber tonight he went 4-0, with a respectable ERA of 3.26 and an opponents’ BA of .213. In half of the four no decisions of that eight game skein, he left with a lead that the Oakland bull pen couldn’t hold.

The first two and a half innings passed uneventfully, with the rivals trading zeroes. After three, they still were exchanging goose eggs, but the A’s had mounted a serious threat, loading the bases with one out on a pair of singles to right by Stephen Piscotty and Canha. But Laureano hit into an around the horn double play to squelch the incipient breakthrough.

Sandoval’s departure after five frames opened the flood gates for Oakland. After Sleger’s strike out of Laureano, Olson doubled into the left field corner. Lowrie walked. Chapman hit a grounder to deep short that Fletcher fielded and threw to third, hoping to get the force on Olson. But the threw the ball away, allowing Olson to score and Chapman to reach second on the throwing error. Murphy’s single to center drove in Lowrie and Chapman.

That was it for Slegger. Seth Brown hit for Piscotty just before Slegger was removed, replaced by Alex Claudio, who walked Brown, advancing Murphy to second. Canha loaded the bases with a single to right, the two runners moving up a base a piece.

That ended the short, unhappy stint of Slegger. Junior Guerra came in, and Tony Kemp pinch hit for Pinder. Kemp’s sacrifice fly to center brought in Brown with the A’s fifth run, all of them earned, four charged against Slegers, who would be the losing pitcher, and one to Claudio’s account. Junior Guerra finished off the inning by getting Laureano whose strike out had led it off. That was the only frame in which either team score. Guerra held the Athletics scoreless and hitlesss. the rest of the way.

Bassett got the win, and it was a beauty. It was hit first career complete game and, after an infield single to Juan Lagares ln the second frame, he didn’t allow any hits until Justin Upton doubled with one down in the ninth. The only other batter he allowed to reach base safely was his would have been mound antagonist, Ohtani, who walked in the fourth. Bassett threw 114 pitches, 70 for strikes.

Tomorrow — or, if you’re reading this after midnight, Friday, May 28 — the A’s will entrust their fortunes to southpaw Sean Manaea (3-2, 4.17) against in a game scheduled to start at 6:40. It’s probable his opposing number will be Ohtani (1-0, 2.37), but you never can tell …

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