Oakland, CA – If the A’s ballboy’s diving catch didn’t get your attention than maybe the runs the Angels put on the board did.
Oakland’s rookie Raul Alcantara made his Major League debut but was overshadowed by his own jitteriness and an offensive display by the Halos. After the A’s snapped a nine-game losing streak they lost 10-7 today.
“You hit a guy, then you hit another guy, you just get a little bit spooked,” Oakland’s manager Bob Melvin said. “But toward the end of his outing we saw the stuff that we think we’re going to see, and he got better as he went along. Sometimes nerves hit you in your first outing, especially when a couple of things transpire.”
Alcantara hit three batters and walked in two runs in the first frame. He retired the first batter he faced but hit Mike Trout. Both Albert Pujols and C.J. Cron hit back-to-back singles. Jefry Marte was hit by pitch and Trout scored. Andrelton got a free pass and Pujols scored. Nick Buss’ sacrifice fly drove in Cron making it a 3-0 game. Alcantara hit Jett Bandy before forcing Kaleb Coward to line out and end the inning.
Lasting three frames, the rookie gave up five hits, five runs, walked one, surrendered a home run and was charged with a balk. It’s the most an A’s pitcher has hit a batter since Jesse Hahn on 6/10/15 vs Texas. Alcantara is the first Oakland pitcher to hit three batters and called for a balk since Howard Ehmke on April 27, 1930. In Triple-A Nashville, he walked three batters in 45 2/3 frames over eights starts with a 1.18 ERA.
“I think it wasn’t me,” said Alcantara through an interpreter. “I’m not used to pitching that way. I was trying to make perfect pitches.”
The big leagues are always different especially when you face guys that can hit. But the A’s fought back the entire way. Danny Valencia hit a two-run homer that cut the lead 3-2 bottom of the first. Kole Calhoun hit solo home run in the second. Pujols doubled in the fourth followed by Marte’s RBI single to extend the Halos lead 8-2. Oakland added on three more runs in the same inning.
Khris Davis walked to lead off the frame. Yonder Alonso also got a free pass putting two on with no outs. Joey Wendle hit a single and drove in Davis. Bruce Maxwell’s RBI double scored in both Alonso and Wendle making it a 8-5 game. Ron Healey added on a run when he doubled in the fifth. And Davis went yard to record his 35th home run in the seventh to cut the lead down to one run.
By the ninth, two errors led to the Halos adding on two runs to secure their win. Andrelton Simmons reached first on a fielding error by second baseman Chad Pinder. Rafael Ortega singled, advanced to second on a fielding error by Davis and drove in Simmons. Jett Bandy followed with a single and scored in Ortega to make it a 10-7 game.
“I just spent three weeks with the Nashville team, and I saw him [Alcantara] pitch a few times,” Sean Doolittle said. “One of the best things about him is his control and his ability to move the ball around the strike zone with different pitches. Maybe nerves got to him a little bit today, but he’s an exciting young guy. So, hopefully, now that he’s got one under his belt, hopefully, he can settle in next time and relax.”