Oakland A’s starter Cole Irving serves it up against the Los Angeles Angels line up in an extra inning cliffhanger at the Oakland Coliseum on Tue Oct 4, 2022 (@Athletics photo)
Los Angeles (73-88). 1. 7. 0
Oakland (59-102). 2. 6. 1. 10 innings
Tuesday, October 4, 2022
By Lewis Rubman
OAKLAND–Before an intimate gathering of 8,189 spectators, two once mighty California baseball teams put on their penultimate performance of 2022 this evening at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. I was about to write “disappointing” somewhere in that sentence.
After all, some denizens of Orange County may have had high expectations for their Angels, expectations that were dashed by, among other things, Mike Trout’s injury, but who had high hopes about the 2022 A’s to begin with?
Maybe we’ll have some for 2023 or ’24, but where will the team be then? At Howard Terminal, and at what cost? In Las Vegas? So, as the crowds at the Roman Coliseum would say, carpe diem, seize the day.
The ancient Romans didn’t have artificial lighting for illuminate their entertainments, but we do, and, after the lights had taken full effect and then been turned off until next year, the A’s had pulled off their second straight 10 inning win over the Angels, taking them down 2-1 in ten frames.
In a brief pregame ceremony, the Athletics congratulated their one time catcher Kurt Suzuki, who, like Stephen Vogt, will join the ranks of retired A’s catchers after tomorrow’s last out. Suzuki, who celebrated his 39th birthday today, started behind the plate for the Angels, batting ninth. The Halos rendered their own tribute to him after the home team’s very first at bat.
The other eight Angels on the field met him at the mound and hugged him. The A’s applauded him from inn front of their dugout. Suzuki then left for the LA dugout, and Max Stassi, another veteran of the Oakland organization, entered the game as catcher.
Tonight’s starter for the green and gold was one of the few bright spots in the early part of Oakland’s season. Cole Irvin, who toed the rubber at game time, went 6-9, 2.92, allowing his opponents the modest OPS of .642. Last month, he was 2-2, 8.23, and batters battered him for an OPS of .985. Irvin’s performance tonight was excellent.
The shut the Angels out for six innings on four hits and no walks, although he did hit two batters. He struck out four and left with a no decision that lowered his ERA to 3.98. Only 24 of his 87 pitches were balls.
Michael Lorenzen, the Halos’ starter had his season interrupted at the beginning of July by a strained right shoulder and didn’t return to work until September 9. He went 2-0, 3.05 between then and tonight for an overall record of 8-6, 4.52. He defeated the Athletics in last previous start, holding them to one, unearned, run over five innings on September 28 at the Big A. In tonight’s contest, he was even stinger.
He kept Oakland scoreless over six frames, in which he allowed only three hits and three walks, with one wild pitch thrown in for leavening. He struck out seven, and 61 of his 95 offerings counted as strikes. Like Irvin, he had to settle for a no decision, but he, too, reduced his ERA, which now stands at 4.24.
The Angels tested Irvin’s mettle in the top of the sixth, when Trout led off with a Texas League double that fell at the feet of an unrushing Conner Capel in right. It looked as if Ohtani’s high, deep drive to center would break what had been up till then a scoreless tie.
But Cristián Pache caught the ball at the back of the centerfield warning track, near the Sports California sign. Trout advanced to third on the play but had to remain there on Taylor Ward´s ground out to short. Irvin plunked Anthony Rendon to put runners on the corners with two away.
Matt Duffy flew out to right, and the score remained knotted at zero. That ended Irvin’s outing; Austin Pruitt set the Angels down in order in the seventh and then gave way to Tyler Cyr in the eighth.
Andrew Wantz put the A’s down 1,2,3 in the home seventh but yielded a leadoff double to last night’s batting hero, Tony Kemp, to open the eighth. It was a costly hit for the Angels’ reliever; Seth Brown smacked a one out single to right that brought Kemp home to break the tie.
After issuing a walk to Shea Langeliers, Wantz went to the showers, replaced by Rob Zastryzny. The introduction of a left handed reliever called forth the counter move of Chad Pinder’s pinch hitting for Capel. Zastryzny disposed of Pinder and Ernie Clement to end the inning.
The winning pitcher in last night’s 10 inning triumph, Domingo Acevedo, came in at the start of the Angels’ ninth, trying to protect Oakland’s precious one run advantage. He didn’t have to deal with a zombie runner this time; he had to deal with something worse.
Liván Soto led off with a single to left. Kemp’s wild throw to second allowed Soto to reach that base safely, and when Acevedo, who was backing up the play, also made an errant toss, Soto motored on to third. He scored the tying run when Matt Duffy hit a liner to right past a drawn in infield.
After Adell flew out to center, Acevedo picked Duffy off and induced Fletcher to send a grounder to Brown at first. Brown won the race to the bag, and we went into the bottom of the ninth tied at one.
Ryan Tercera retired pinch hitters Dermís García and Stephen Vogt and then Allen to send the game into extra innings for the second night in a row.
The A’s sent AJ Puk to the mound for the top of the tenth, with Fletcher as the placed runner. Stassi sacrificed him to third, where. he had to stay. when Allen made a brilliant play of Luis Rengifo’s hard grounder to short for the second out. The A’s granted an intentional pass to Trout and chose to pitch to Ohtani. The result was a fly ball, deep to left center, that Pache caught up against Stew 34 sign.
Tepera came out for the bottom of the tenth with Allen placed on second. Kemp laid down a bunt between the mound and third base. Allen beat the throw to third but overslid the bag. Rengifo tagged him and he was called out. The A’s challenged the call, but it was confirmed. Murphy dumped a single into shallow left center that sent Kemp to third.
The Angels conceded a walk to Brown that brought Langeliers to the plate with the bases loaded and one out. The infield played in, the count went to 3-2. The pitch was a sinker that sank too much. It was a walkoff walk.
Puk, now 4-3, was the winning pitcher. Tepera took the loss. He’s now 5-4.
The season ends Wednesday afternoon, starting at 1:00. Ken Wlichuk (1-2, 6.18) will match up against Shoei Ohtani (15-8, 2.35). If you can’t make it in person, it will be televised in Japan on NHK-TV.