Oakland A’s make history in Opening Night win

The Oakland A’s made history on Opening Day, as they were part of the first extra inning game to feature a runner starting the inning at second.

During the Opening Night of an odd season, the Oakland Athletics had an odd game. After a rough start, the Oakland A’s found their late game magic and pulled out a historic win defeating the Angels 7-3 in their debut game.

Frankie Montas, the A’s opening day starter, had a rough beginning to the game, throwing 25 pitches in the first inning, and loading the bases. Montas was able to escape danger by striking out veteran Albert Pujols.

The game remained scoreless until the fourth inning where Brian Goodwin’s RBI single gave Los Angeles a 1-0 lead.

Later that inning, Ramon Laureano gave the Athletics their first hit, their first run, and their first home run of the 2020 season with a long shot to left field into the empty stands.

Although the only fans in Oakland were cutouts, the fake MLB the Show crowd noise provided plenty of timely excitement throughout the game, including on the solo shot by Laureano.

With Joakim Soria in the game, a throwing error by Matt Chapman allowed Andrelton Simmons to score later in the top of the 7th on a sacrifice fly by David Fletcher.

For the Angels, three walks by Noe Ramirez gave the A’s a bases loaded scenario, however, a pop-up by Marcu Semien killed the rally.

Down 2-1 in the 8th, Laureano continued his big night driving in Semien with a one out RBI double.

After a little argument between Joe Maddon, Bob Melvin, and the umpire crew, Matt Chapman drove an RBI triple the other way scoring Ramon Laureano. Chapman was then caught in a rundown on a subsequent passed ball, killing the rally for Oakland.

For both teams, the starters did not last long, with Montas going 4 innings for the A’s and Andrew Heaney only lasting 4.2 for the Angels. With the bullpens carrying the majority of the load this evening, the new three batter minimum rule was on display for this AL West showdown.

Liam Hendricks came in for the save and struggled mightily after an All-Star appearance in 2019. After a solo home run by Jason Castro, Hendriks loaded the bases for Shohei Ohtani. Hendriks struck out Ohtani quickly, which sent the A’s into the bottom of the 9th looking for some late inning magic.

After a lackluster bottom of the 9th, the A’s and Angels became the first teams in MLB history to be a part of an extra inning game where a runner started at second base. With Shohei Ohtani making the last out of the 9th inning for the Angels, he started the top of the 10th on second base. The 7th pitcher of the night for the A’s, Burch Smith was the pitcher on the mound for Oakland to begin this historic inning.

Starting the 10th was a fantastic play by Matt Olson and Matt Chapman to trap Ohtani in a rundown, Albert Pujols popped out to Austin Allen with runners on first and second. The Angels hero from earlier, Jason Castro, and Andrelton Simmons were both unable to convert runs for LA.

With Marcus Semien starting the bottom of the 10th at second base, the A’s were given the same opportunity as the Angels and they chose not to bunt with Laureano beginning the inning. Laureano was hit by the 4th pitch of the at-bat, creating a first and second situation for Matt Chapman.

Chapman struck out after a long AB against the Angels closer Robles. Khris Davis was then given his chance for 10th innings heroics after a wild pitch from Robles. Before pitching to Davis, Joe Maddon brought in Tyler Ward to be a fifth infielder,

Because the game wasn’t dramatic enough already, the Angels walked Davis and brought in Hoby Milner to face Matt Olson with the bases loaded and one out. Matt Olson decided that the drama was too much and sent a grand slam off into the night, giving the A’s the victory.

Saved by the “Late inning A’s” and the new rule changes, Montas looked good overall after a rough first inning. Mixing a fastball sitting around 96-98 MPH and a splitter to get consistent swings and misses, Montas kept the Angels hitters on their toes during his short appearance.

The true bright spot for Oakland in a weird game was their bullpen, with Yusmeiro Petit, TJ McFarland, and Jake Diekman providing solid performances out of the bullpen to support Montas.

Next: The door is open for Daulton Jefferies

The Oakland A’s and Angels are back again on Saturday, with Sean Manaea squaring up against Dylan Bundy for Los Angeles. Manea went 4-0 in 5 starts in 2019, posting a 1.21 ERA and will look to continue that trend in the 1:10 PT start on Saturday.

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