Rengifo’s first inning homer stands up for Halos; A’s Irvin pitches gem in 1-0 loss Monday

Oakland A’s starter Cole Irvin was dealing against the Los Angeles Angels at the Oakland Coliseum on Mon Aug 8, 2022 to open a three game series (@Athletics photo)

Los Angeles ((47-63). 1. 5. 0

Oakland (41-69). 0. 2. 0

Monday, August 8, 2022

By Lewis Rubman

OAKLAND–After having been swept by the slumping Giants in a two game series over the weekend, the Athletics continued their slide, losing to their fellows in misery from southern California, the Los Angeles Angels, another once proud franchise that recently has been shopping around for a new home. It was, however, a beautiful game.

Oakland chose as their starter Cole Irvin, who at 6-8 ,3.04 at game time, arguably is the best pitcher in their rotation. Frankie Montás, erstwhile candidate for that honor, got hammered in his first appearance as a Yankee, yielding six runs in three innings to the Cardinals. Paul Blackburn, another contender for the title, Paul Blackburn, seems to have been hit by the Curse of the All Star Selection.

In spite of a brief hitch in the opening frame, Irvin was magnificent for eight innings tonight. He allowed but one run on five hits, striking out six without issuing a walk. He threw 94 pitches, 69 for strikes. The loss left him 6-9 ,2.92.

On the mound for the Halos in tonight’s battle of the lefties was José Suárez, carrying a record of 3-4, 4.55 and the nickname of El demente with him.

That sobriquet means just what it sounds like. The madman was crazy like a fox, dominating the host team’s batters over seven frames. His record now is 4-4, 4.04. Keep on reading to appreciate the statistical details of his achievement.

Shohei Ohtani wasn’t in the Angels’ starting lineup, but it did include two on time Athletics catchers, Kurt Suzuki and Max Stassi. The latter just barely qualifies because he never played a regular season game for the Athletics, but he was a standout at Stockton.

Earlier in the day, the A’s announced that they had optioned yesterday’s losing pitcher, Adrián Martínez, to Las Vegas and recalled fellow right handed pitcher Domingo Tapia from the Aviators.

Irvin started out strong, retiring the first two Angels he faced on seven pitches. He threw a 93 mph sinker for his eighth offering. Luis Rengifo gave it a lift.. The ball travelled 434 feet into the left field seats for the Halos’ second sacker’s sixth home run of the year and a 1-0 Los Angeles lead.

Both pitchers were on the ball after that. The score still was 1-0 at the seventh inning stretch, and Irvin had thrown an economical 82 pitches and allowed a total of five hits including Rengifo’s two safties, his round tripper and a double to lead off the fourth.

Not to be outdone, Suárez held Oakland to a pair of singles, one of them of the infield variety, over his first seven frames.

The tension rose among the 5,440 faithful who showed up for the contest as the teams moved inexorably towards the ninth episode of the evening´s drama. Irvin set the Angels down in order in the top of the eighth. Aaron Loup relieved Súarez and set the Athletics down in order.

Zach Jackson came on to try to hold the A’s deficit to one run in the top of the ninth. He succeded, throwing a perfect inning.

Ryan Tepera toed the rubber in the top of the ninth, looking for his second save in six opportunities. The A’s sent Tony Kemp to pinch hit for Pinder to lead off. He flew out to deep left center, bringing up Murphy, who grounded to shortstop Fletcher’s right.

Fletcher made a fine backhand grab and threw Oakland’s catcher out at first. It now was up to Laureano, who flew out to left to end an exciting, albeit frustrating battle.

Shohei Ohtani will be in action tomorrow as the Angels’ starting pitcher. He comes with a record of 9-7, 2.83. James Kaprielian (3-5, 4.32) will oppose him for the green and gold. Game time is 6:40 pm PDT.

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