Oakland, CA – The anticipated matchup between these two teams was well worth the wait. The Los Angeles Angels came into tonight’s contest, a game and a half behind the A’s in the American League West. But after Oakland’s dominating first inning, they still reign the best in the division.
The A’s took game one of the series with a 9-5 victory over the Angels. Drew Pomeranz retired the first three batters he faced in the first frame while his counterpart Garrett Richards was chased out of the game after the first when Oakland scored five runs.
“Embarrassing,” said Richards. “I didn’t show up for us tonight. I didn’t give us a chance, I put us in a hole early.”
“We had good energy, coming out of the gate today,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.”
Richards loaded the bases by surrendering two singles and a walk with no outs. Brandon Moss hit his first career grand slam and gave Oakland an easy 4-0 lead. Richards struck out one batter and then allowed two more singles and a walk to load the bases again with one out.
“I was definitely ready for it,” said Moss. “I don’t think there’s many times I go up there taking. I tell guys all the time, I’ve never come close to hitting one but thought it would be cool to.”
Back at the top of the order for the A’s, Richards issued a free pass to Coco Crisp and walked in Oakland’s next run making it a 5-0. Richards tossed a surprising one inning and threw 37 pitches total. Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia saw enough and went to his bullpen early.
“Obviously, he didn’t have his release point,” Scioscia said.
Wade LeBlanc came in struck out John Jaso to end the inning. Josh Donaldson hit two home runs, one solo blast off the right field wall extending the A’s lead 6-0. And a two-run shot in the fifth. Donaldson recorded his second multi-homer game of his career.
“I’ve been seeing some pretty decent pitching for a while now,” said Donaldson. “It’s just a matter of squaring it up or not. And Moss has had a great year. It’s kind of one of those ordeals where you have to pick your poison I feel like.”
“He’s playing really well right now across the board,” Melvin said. “A big night for him all the way around.”
Moss left the game and did not return due to tightness in his right calf. He became the fourth Oakland A’s cleanup hitter to hit a grand slam in the first inning. Moss has also set a new record for extra-base hits in May with 19 and set a career-high for home runs in a month with 9.
“I don’t know how I hurt it,” said Moss. I was coming on the field in between innings and it just balled up on me into a cramp. I couldn’t get the cramp out the entire inning (top of the third) and it hurt pretty bad.”
He’s day to day,” Melvin said. “Doubtful for tomorrow.”
The Angels didn’t walk away quietly, Mike Trout blasted a solo home run to lead off the fourth. Howie Kendrick followed with a two-run homer to left field. And C.J. Cron’s two-run double in the sixth trimmed their lead 9-5.
Drew Pomeranz had just allowed one home run in his previous 24 innings. Tonight he retired six of the seven batters he faced before yielding five runs on four hits. He tossed 5 1/3 innings before the bullpen took over. It was his first start throwing more than five innings since July 27, 2012.
“I did what I wanted to accomplish early, attacking guys, getting ahead of guys,” said Pomeranz. “I made one bad pitch to Trout. I didn’t want to throw it there. The other home run, he just got me. Of course, the walks don’t help. I may just be trying to do to much at that point to make sure I stayed in the game.”