Baseball, sunshine, and about 22,000 fans showed up right on time Thursday afternoon in Oakland, as the A’s shut out the Angels 4-0 for their first win of the season after opening the season 0-2 in Japan.
Solo home runs from Marcus Semien in the fourth and Khris Davis in the sixth — both off Trevor Cahill (L, 0-1, 6.00 ERA) — capped the offense, while starter Mike Fiers (W, 1-1, 5.00 ERA) and a trio of relievers kept Los Angeles hitters off balance all afternoon.
Oakland started the scoring with single runs in the second and third. Semien belted his first home run of the year deep over the center field wall near the 400 mark. Davis crushed his solo homer off a Cahill sinker into the second-level deck in left field.
After giving up five runs in Japan, Fiers turned things around with a solid 6 innings. He allowed one hit, walked three batters and didn’t give up a single run.
Thursday was Cahill’s second career Opening Day start; his first was as a 23-year-old for the A’s in 2011. Today, Cahill made his first appearance back in Oakland as an Angel. He threw six innings, gave up six hits, four runs and two homers. He walked one, struck out three and finished with 81 pitches, 58 being strikes.
Mike Trout, in his first regular-season game after signing his 12-year contract, went 1-for-3 with a walk. Trout’s only hit came in the eighth off Joakim Soria into center field. Laureano was unable to field the ball smoothly and his error allowed Trout to get to second.
Robbie Grossman went 2-for-4 in left for Oakland, and explained what went well:
“We had a lot of fun. We play to win and playing in front of the fans for the first time was exciting. Fiers pitched great, guys made plays on defense and we did what we did on offense. Im just glad we came in here and got a win.”
“There is some confidence that goes with good defense. Last year, a lot of how we felt about ourselves was on the defensive end. We weren’t giving up any runs that way. … You don’t play two hours and ten or whatever minutes without good defense.”
Melvin explained how grateful they are to have Chapman who went 1-for-3 with a walk, along with some stellar plays at third:
“We get a little spoiled by it (Chapman’s defense). The double-play he made. …As soon as it’s hit to him, you know its going to be a double play. … We try not to take it for granted.”
In the bottom of the second, Jurickson Profar hit the ball deep into right-field off the wall. Angels right fielder Calhoun had to chase the ball down and make the throw to his cut off. By the time he got to the ball, Profar was rounding second and sliding into third for a triple.
A Chad Pinder sacrifice fly to center brought in Profar for a 1-0 lead.
Grossman got the third inning started with a base hit up the middle. He was able to steal to second prior to Chapman taking a walk, leaving men on first and second with Piscotty up to bat. Piscotty turned a base hit ball into a double and Angels second baseman Tommy La Stella missed the tag at second, which allowed Grossman to score.
Khris Davis said the A’s played good baseball today and he feels healthy and comfortable:
“We got after it. It just took the pressure off the defense… We got the lead early, and that’s how we want to win ballgames.”
Davis said he noticed a difference in Fiers after the Mariners series in Japan:
“That’s what we need from him. He is our No. 1 and he pitched like it today. Better rhythm, we are back in tune to what is going on over here.”
Kendrys Morales, acquired yesterday by Oakland from the Toronto Blue Jays, arrived in Oakland at noon. Bob Melvin didn’t want to rush him into getting in the game but he will start tomorrow at first base. … Khris Davis’ good luck charm, Make-a-Wish recipient Anthony Slocumb, arrived in Oakland wearing the same jersey Davis signed last season. He got to witness a home run from Davis today. … Thursday’s game time was 2 hours, 18 minutes. The Coliseum was pelted by a rainstorm not long after the final pitch.