OAKLAND – A scuffling Ramón Laureano broke a heated pitcher’s duel with a three-run home run to give the A’s a lead in their 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night.
The home run came off Angels reliever Steve Cishek. With Shohei Ohtani on the mound, the A’s needed to get to Los Angeles’ bullpen to break through. With the pitching change, Ohtani moved into left field to keep his bat in the lineup – he had a front row view of his scoreless effort disappear as Laureano’s ball ducked into the left field seats.
An eager crowd of 14,000 flocked to the Oakland Coliseum on a frigid Monday night to watch two-way star Ohtani pitch and bat second against the Oakland A’s. The show turned into a tense pitcher’s duel between Ohtani and A’s starter Cole Irvin.
Monday’s game was scoreless for the first seven innings. Ohtani spun six scoreless, holding Oakland to three hits with eight strikeouts. That included a pair of doubles from Mitch Moreland and Mark Canha – the latter prompted the A’s scoring threat against Ohtani with Tony Kemp, who walked, on third base with less than two outs. But Ohtani struck out Elvis Andrus and Matt Olson hit a ball into the shift to end the threat. Ohtani went six scoreless innings.
Cole Irvin stole the Ohtani show, matching him inning-for-inning on a smaller pitch count. He tamed the Angels offense, save for David Fletcher – who reached base three times against him on a leadoff double, single and a walk. That gave Ohtani three opportunities to score a run – all three opportunities were denied.
Ohtani’s only hit of the game was a double that Fletcher tried to score on from first base. But Laureno found cutoff man Elvis Andrus, who connected with catcher Sean Murphy to get Fletcher out at home. The Angels challenged the call at home, presumably arguing that Murphy’s foot blocked the plate, but the call stood.
After Fletcher’s walk, Irvin got Ohtani on three pitches, striking him out on a slider. Irvin departed the game after giving up a leadoff hit in the eighth inning to Brandon Marsh, but Lou Trivino threw a perfect curveball to get Ohtani to pop out and strand the runner.
Irvin finished with seven-plus innings and kept all seven hits he allowed from crossing home. Trivino collected three outs in the eighth and came back out for the ninth, where he allowed a run on Marsh’s double down the third base line, scoring Phil Gosselin from first base.
Matt Olson’s moonshot in the eighth inning provided some insurance for the A’s. His 24th home run of the year.