That first win of the season is always an uplifting moment for the entire team. It builds confidence and gets that extra weight off everyone’s chest.
The way the Los Angeles Angels did it though, against the Oakland A’s, was something else, maybe a sign of things to come. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves quite yet. The Angels had to come back twice against the A’s and local boy, Danny Espinosa blasted a three-run home run in the ninth inning to give his new ball club the 7-6 win.
Shoemaker strong in outing
Matt Shoemaker started his first game since getting drilled in the head by a ball off a bat which fractured his skull.
Perhaps there were some nerves early on, perhaps not. But in the first inning Ryon Healy tattooed a Shoemaker fastball over the middle of the plate to straight away center field to give Oakland the 1-0 lead.
In the next half inning, however, the Angels managed to take their first lead of the night after connecting. Jefry Marte, Cameron Maybin, and Andrelton Simmons all reached base off of a walk a single, Maybin’s first hit as an Angel, and another single to load the bases. Martin Maldonado came through to give the Angels a 2-1 advantage in the second. Yunel Escobar followed suit by knocking in another run to give Shoemaker some more run support, something he did not have much of last time around.
Home runs continued to plague the Angels pitching early on in the season. Jed Lowrie hit a solo shot into the empty right field stands to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Martin Maldonado put on quite the show at the Coliseum against the A’s Tuesday night. He reached base in his first two at bats and showed off his arm behind the plate. The 30-year-old catcher threw a back pick in inning number two to get Marcus Semien out. Then, Maldonado really showed off his arm strength when he nailed the speedy Rajai Davis with a perfect throw the next inning.
Following a Escobar double play, Kole Calhoun drew a walk. That brought up Mike Trout. Last night, Trout drove in the only two runs of the game, but tonight was a different story. He hit a triple to drive in Calhoun from first, which made it 4-2 to the Angels in the fifth.
The A’s, though, battled back just like they did the previous night, using a four run seventh inning to retake a 6-4 lead. Lowrie led of the inning with a single to set things in motion. Yonder Alonso then came through with a clutch hit into the right field corner, bringing Lowrie in all the way from first.
That was just the start. Semien continued the hit parade with a double of his own which scored Alonso easily. The third consecutive extra base hit came five pitches later off of Rajai Davis, who hit the second triple in the inning and scored when Espinosa threw the ball away.
Espinosa redeems himself
Luckily for Espinosa, a native of Santa Ana, his error did not cost the Angels the game. Marte and Maybin led off the top of the ninth by hitting two consecutive singles.
After Simmons grounded into a force out, the 29-year-old Espinosa stepped up to the plate. Espinosa mashed a slider low in the strike zone over the right field fence for his first hit as an Angel, which ultimately won them the game.
These same two teams will battle once more on Wednesday for the third game of the four game series. Garrett Richards and Jharel Cotton are both slated to pitch for the first time this season. First pitch is set for 10:05 PM EST.