Pitching, defense and Mike Trout turned out to be just the formula the Los Angeles Angels needed to win their first game of the season, edging the Oakland A’s 2-1 Friday night at the Oakland Coliseum.
Trout went hitless on Thursday, but homered off A’s starter Sean Manaea in the first inning Friday and scored the Angels’ other run in the ninth, while Angels starter Tyler Skaggs and the three relievers combined to keep the Oakland bats quiet most of the night
Manaea also was good, giving up one run on four hits in 7 2/3 innings, striking out seven and walking none. Skaggs earned the win, giving up three hits in 6 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out five and walking none.
Skaggs got help from the Angels’ defense along the way. Right fielder Kole Calhoun made a spectacular diving catch of Marcus Semien’s sinking line drive leading off the sixth.
Then with Skaggs out of the game in the seventh, the A’s had runners on first and second with two out. But Angels catcher Martin Maldonado, a Gold Glove winner last season, picked off Jonathan Lucroy at first base, with Albert Pujols applying the tag to end the inning.
The A’s threatened in the eighth inning when Matt Joyce led off with a double, but Angels reliever Keynan Middleton worked his way out of the jam.
The Angels pushed across an insurance run in the ninth inning, with Trout scoring all the way from first when the left fielder Joyce couldn’t handle Justin Upton’s single, the ball skipping past Joyce for an error.
Angels reliever Blake Parker gave up an RBI single by Lucroy with two out in the bottom of the ninth, but retired Joyce on a grounder to second to end it and earn his first save.
Trout, coming off a career-first 0-for-6 on Opening Day, got off to a much better start on Day 2 Friday. Trout fell behind in the count 0-2 but worked the count full. On the 3-2 pitch from Manaea, Trout hit an 84-mph changeup down in the strike zone over the fence in left field for a 1-0 Angels lead.
After Trout’s homer, Upton singled. But Manaea then retired the next 12 Angels hitters in a row until Andrelton Simmons singled with two out in the fifth.
—Field Level Media