Angels Bounce Back From Opening Day Heartbreak, Defeat Athletics

After a disappointing opener in Oakland, Calif., in which Matt Olson hit a walk-off grand slam in the 10th inning, the Los Angeles Angels silenced the Oakland Athletics’ bats to pick up their first win with a score of 4-1 on Saturday afternoon.

The Angels, who gave up seven runs on Opening Night, allowed one run in some daytime action against the Moneyball team, courtesy of a solid pitching performance from newcomer Dylan Bundy. The former Baltimore Oriole pitched a stellar debut for Anaheim, going 6.2 innings with seven strikeouts and one run on just three hits.

A key note is that five of his strikeouts were finished by his slider, which showed late movement and velocity that got the A’s lineup swinging and missing.

He retired eight batters in a row and only allowed a single from catcher Austin Allen in the third, a single from center fielder Ramón Laureano in the fourth, and a double from right fielder Stephen Piscotty in the seventh.

From an offensive standpoint, the Angels bounced back and provided enough offence against a stellar A’s rotation, including starter Sean Manaea, who went 4.2 innings, striking out three batters and allowing four runs on five hits.

Heading into Sunday’s action, the Angels needed to bring their A-game offensively since they left the bases loaded three times in their season debut without scoring a run. They scored enough to lift them out of that hole, starting with a solo home run to deep left field from designated hitter Justin Upton in the top of the fourth inning, ending Manaea’s perfect game bid.

However, the Angels did not stop there as they tacked on more pressure to Manaea with three hits in the top of the fifth inning, starting with a single from Taylor Ward, who made his debut in right field.

After a lineout from second baseman Tommy La Stella and a popout from left fielder Michael Hermosillo, the Angels hit three consecutive two-out base hits, led by Max Stassi‘s single. Anaheim capitalized with back-to-back RBI doubles from shortstop Andrelton Simmons and third baseman David Fletcher, ending Manaea’s outing after facing just 19 batters.

The A’s showed some light in the bottom of the seventh inning when Piscotty hit a line drive double to left field with two outs. Manager Joe Maddon brought in reliever Keynan Middleton, but gave up an RBI single to left fielder Robbie Grossman. The run was charged to Bundy due to his responsibility for leaving Piscotty in scoring position.

Despite a walk from Middleton, the Angels’ bullpen settled down for the remainder of the game and held on to pick up their first victory of the 2020 season, with a 4-1 score.

Bundy picked up his first win of the season, while Manaea was credited with the loss and closer Hansel Robles earned his first save.

The Angels and A’s will square off again on Sunday afternoon with Shohei Ohtani‘s return from Tommy John surgery against 2019 15-game winner Mike Fiers.

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