Evil Angels strike down A’s

It didn’t take long before A’s starter Cody Martin was pulled from his first big league start.

The Angels made quick work of the fresh face, nailing the A’s for four runs and the ballgame during the third inning. Oakland picked up one run in the bottom of the first, a Brett Lawrie homer, and another in the ninth as the A’s lost 6-2.

Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay

Martin’s third inning, though, carried all the action. Angels catcher Carlos Perez scored on an infield single from outfielder Kole Calhoun.

Designated hitter Albert Pujols was hit by an errant pitch, with the bases loaded, and second baseman Taylor Featherston scored. Outfielder David Murphy grounded out, but with the bases still loaded, Calhoun scored and outfielder Mike Trout advanced to third.

Trout scored on a sacrifice fly hit by first baseman C.J. Cron.

The rough inning carried into the fourth, where Martin (L, 0-1, 15.00 ERA) was replaced by reliever Arnold Leon.

The damage was done, though, and the A’s haven’t been answering back this year. Angels starter Matt Shoemaker (W, 7-9, 4.31 ERA) allowed only five hits in seven innings, aided by A’s hitters finding ways to get themselves out.

Shoemaker said he was happy to finish the seventh inning despite being over 100 pitches. It only helps his confidence moving forward, and he has now strung together back-to-back quality starts for a team entrenched in the playoff hunt.

Which is not where Oakland is.

The A’s have had a rough season, though they won three straight until Tuesday evening.

The game-to-game nature of professional ballplayers is meant to avoid long losing streaks. The A’s hope they can get the right message ingrained into the minds of recent call-ups, as eight new faces enter during the first wave of roster expansion.

Which includes one of those wish upon a star moments, even with the loss. 25-year-old reliever Ryan Dull looks more like a player’s son than a player, if you take it from A’s manager Bob Melvin:

“I thought it was good. I mean, he looks like someone’s 12-year-old kid out there. And he didn’t seem to be affected by nerves. Used all his pitches, low 90’s fastball with some movement. Looked like some sliders to the righties, change-ups to the lefties, and knew where it was going. Impressive start for him.”

Impressive, sure, especially his first big league matchup, where he struck out Cron swinging on the fifth pitch. Dull said:

“It was exactly how I thought it would be. Get out there and get some experience that everybody as a kid dreams of.”

The wiry 5-foot-10 kid from North Carolina showed his teeth during a postgame media session, a smile that was as unassuming as it was confident. Dull felt good, there’s no doubt about it.

Dull said it helps that his family and friends have been reaching out to congratulate him on being called up:

“My phone hasn’t stopped buzzing all day.”

Dull threw 20 pitches in his debut, allowing one hit and no runs in a full inning of work. 13 of his pitches went for strikes, and he will receive an extended look this month on a team starving for bullpen help.

His minor league numbers speak volumes as well, 16 innings with Triple-A Nashville this season which include a 1.12 ERA and 0.81 WHIP. His numbers from Double-A Midland are even more impressive: 45 innings, 0.60 ERA and 0.93 WHIP.

Dull’s life might become the opposite of the definition the name gives. The kid has promising stuff.

Notes

The A’s have homered in eight consecutive games, 10 total, something that was difficult for them to do early in the season. Much progress have been made on offense, some roster tweaks have helped, and so has practicing line drives a little more. … The Coliseum isn’t friendly to the normal home run trajectory, an arc much like that of a perfect three pointer in basketball. Since the makeup of the roster was mostly from other places to begin the year, the nuances of the ballpark wore the record down. The A’s hope to have fixed that, though the bullpen and rotation carry giant question marks into next season.


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