ANAHEIM — By nearly becoming involved in major-league history Thursday night, the A’s reached a level of infamy that baseball fans in the East Bay last experienced more than four decades ago.
Shohei Ohtani, who needed four more outs for his first no-hitter, helped give the A’s their 100th loss, as the Los Angeles Angels earned a 4-2 victory in front of 31,293 at Angel Stadium.
Not since 1979, when the club went 54-108, have the A’s reached triple figures in losses. Only twice since 1965, when the team called Kansas City home, have the A’s exceeded 100 losses.
One reason for the club’s frustration is a lineup that entered the game ranked last in the major leagues in batting average (.217), hits (1,106), on-base percentage (.282) and OPS (.630), and next-to-last in runs (544), RBI (514) and slugging percentage (.348).
It was a lineup Ohtani could dominate.
After walking Tony Kemp to start the game, the two-way star retired the next 22 batters, facing the minimum before conceding back-to-back singles to Conner Capel and Dermis Garcia with two out in the top of the eighth inning. Ohtani conceded just the two hits and the walk, and finished with 10 strikeouts in eight innings.
But with Ohtani gone, the A’s scored twice and brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth against reliever Aaron Loup. The visitors loaded the bases when Nick Allen hit a double down the right-field line, pinch-hitter Jonah Bride walked and Sean Murphy was hit by a pitch. Seth Brown’s groundout scored Allen and a wild pitch brought Bride home. However, pinch-hitter Stephen Vogt hit a long flyout to end the game.
Los Angeles hit left-hander Cole Irvin early and hard in taking a 2-0 lead in the first. Leadoff hitter Luis Rengifo lined Irvin’s second pitch, an 88 mph fastball, into the Angels’ left-field bullpen for his 16th homer this season.
Mike Trout then lined a double onto the warning track in left-center field. Ohtani followed by poking a single up the middle to bring Trout home and extend his hitting streak to 14 games, his longest as a major leaguer. In Japan, Ohtani hit in 17 successive games.
In the third, the Angels extended their lead to 3-0. Taylor Ward propelled Irvin’s 78 mph curveball over the fence in left-center field for his 23rd home run of the year. In the sixth, Max Stassi contributed his ninth homer when he sent reliever Norge Ruiz’s first pitch, a 91.5 mph fastball, into the first row of the right-field bleachers.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism