ANAHEIM ― The evening began with 25,190 announced patrons at Angel Stadium observing a moment of silence in memory of Vin Scully.
The many moments of silence that followed were not planned in advance.
The Angels lost, 3-1, to the Oakland A’s on Wednesday. It was the rare night on which Shohei Ohtani pitched and hit, but did relatively little to make a positive impact in either facet of his marvelous two-way game. The Angels’ defense offered little help.
Ohtani (9-7) allowed three runs – two earned – in 5 ⅔ innings. He labored at times during the 99-pitch outing, allowing seven hits. By striking out seven batters, Ohtani’s streak of double-digit strikeout games ended at six; only seven pitchers have ever enjoyed a longer streak.
Ohtani has a 2.89 ERA in 18 starts this season. In 10 starts at home, his ERA is 2.25.
As a hitter, Ohtani struck out in his first at-bat against former Beckman High and UCLA standout James Kaprielian (3-5), lined out sharply his next time up, then grounded out in his final plate appearance. After he was removed from the mound in the sixth inning, Ohtani did not bat again.
Interim manager Phil Nevin said Ohtani was dealing with a “mild cramp” in his right forearm.
“It’s nothing we’re alarmed about,” Nevin said. “He had a hard time grabbing the bat when he went down underneath. He was taking some swings. He plans on DH’ing (Thursday).”
Beginning this season, teams who do not use a designated hitter in place of their starting pitcher are allowed to keep that pitcher in the lineup as a DH after their final pitch has been thrown. But the Angels did not take advantage of the so-called “Shohei Ohtani rule” on Wednesday, instead inserting pinch hitter Kurt Suzuki in the seventh inning.
Suzuki drew a walk against A.J. Puk. It was the best at-bat the Angels got from their No. 2 spot in the batting order all night. Fittingly, Suzuki did not advance past first base.
The Angels went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base. Kaprielian, an Orange County native, allowed his only run in the fifth inning when Luis Rengifo split the gap in right-center field to drive in Magneuris Sierra.
Rengifo was also partially responsible for the unearned run on Ohtani’s ledger. He fielded a routine grounder cleanly in the fourth inning, only to fire a poor throw across the infield that pulled first baseman Jared Walsh off the bag. Ramon Laureano was safe on the error.
The next batter, Sean Murphy, drove a single through the right side of the infield to score Laureano.
The A’s broke the 1-1 tie when Murphy launched a two-run home run off Ohtani in the sixth inning, taking advantage of a 2-and-1 slider down the middle of the plate.
The slider was responsible for some of Ohtani’s greatest successes; he induced 34 swings and 14 misses with the pitch. Ohtani’s slider was also responsible for three balls hit 99 mph or harder, including Murphy’s home run.
As a hitter, Ohtani put some velocity behind his line drive to third base in the third inning, with runners on second and third with one out. But he hit it right at Vimael Machin, who caught the ball for the second out.
“If I came through,” Ohtani said, “we would’ve won the game.”
The Angels have not won a series at home since June. They will try again in Thursday’s rubber match with the A’s.