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Last Minute Rally falls Short; Heartbreaking Loss leaves Bases Loaded in the 9th

Despite a fiery attempt by the offense, the Halos were unable to recover from a rough first inning against the Oakland Athletics.

MLB: SEP 18 Athletics at Angels Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It was a heartbreaking loss on Saturday as the Halos walked away from the night with the bases loaded and a missed opportunity to snag a last-minute victory. Unfortunately, the Halos lineup was slow to the jump, and despite a last-minute offensive fire, the bats fell victim to a rough start in the first inning, cementing the game with a 3-1 loss against the Oakland Athletics.

Jose Suarez (3.67 ERA) led the bullpen tonight, walking into the game with consecutive wins from his two previous outings against the Texas Rangers on Sept. 4 and the Houston Astros on Sept. 11. Unfortunately for Suarez, the Oakland A’s lineup was in full effect and ready to play, as the A’s first baseman Matt Olson kicked off the top of the first with his 36th HR of the season.

From there, the A’s lineup did not let up with Chad Pinder and Mark Canha scoring the only other two runs of the night for the opposing team. Suarez calmed down after that first rough outing, displaying more of that control and poise that fans have seen so far season, but even after the bullpen reclaimed the mound, the Halos lineup was slow on the uptake, totaling 2 hits until the bottom of the 7th when Shohei Ohtani hit a single that lit up the Angels offense.

Following Ohtani’s lead, Jared Walsh hit a single, and the offense started moving from there. Shortstop Luis Rengifo grounded into a force out for Walsh at 2nd, and the A’s defense attempted to end the inning with a double play back to 1, but a fumbled catch by Olson led to a careful review of the play.

The original call was overturned, and Rengifo was safe on first base, giving the Angels extra time to make something happen with runners on the corners, but not before Athletics manager Bob Melvin was ejected by home plate umpire, James Hoye, for aggressively arguing about the call.

Jose Rojas, who was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake Bees on Sept. 15, answered the opportunity with a single that scored Ohtani and put the Angels on the board for the first time in the 7th inning. In fact, Rojas was on fire tonight, also earning the first hit of the night back in the 3rd inning.

Suarez retired from the game after 5.2 IP, finishing with 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 1 SO and 1 HR. On the opposing side, Oakland pitcher James Kaprielian (3.80 ERA) kept the Halos bats quiet for 6 innings, allowing only 2 hits total.

As for the rest of the Halos bullpen, it was a steady comeback with Oliver Ortega (3.00 ERA), Mike Mayers (4.08 ERA) and Jimmy Herget (3.86 ERA) keeping the A’s lineup quiet while the Angels offense tried its best to get hot. The work of the bullpen succeeded in holding the A’s at 3 runs, but the Angels lineup was unable to pull through despite a last minute rally in the 9th.

By the time the 9th inning rolled around, it was clear that the Halos were looking for a comeback story to wrap up the second game of the series against Oakland, but unfortunately, a win wasn’t in the cards.

With Andrew Chafin (1.83 ERA) on the mound, Ohtani, Phil Gosselin and Rojas each took a base, leaving Stassi at the plate with 2 outs and a chance to light up the scoreboard with a comeback victory that would have been as spectacular as the Saturday Night Fireworks scheduled for after the game.

Stassi went down swinging, but a line drive to A’s second baseman Josh Harrison ended the game with bases loaded before something incredible could happen.

The Angels close tonight with a 72-76 record as they head into Sunday for a day of afternoon baseball starting at 1:07 PM. Your Halos will close a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics with Ohtani on the mound before hosting the Houston Astros at the Big A on Monday, Sept. 20.

Saturday Notes & Notables

  • Shohei Ohtani will start tomorrow in the series finale against the Oakland Athletics.
  • Chicago White Sox pitcher, Mike Wright, was suspended for 3 games after hitting Shohei Ohtani on Thursday. Manager Tony La Russa was suspended for 1 game.
  • Joe Madden said that Reid Demters could potentially rejoin the Angels roster in a week. He was previously on the COVID IL.
  • Austin Warren is expected back on Monday after spending time on the COVID IL.
  • Right handed pitcher Cooper Criswell was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake.
  • Left handed pitcher Jhonathan Diaz was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake after making his MLB debut on Sept. 17.