OAKLAND — It was a great afternoon for baseball at The Coliseum, and the A’s and Angels treated a Labor Day crowd to plenty of it Monday.
Three hours and 44 minutes worth of it, to be exact, thanks to 17 total runs, 25 hits, 10 walks and three hit batsmen. A masterpiece it was not. And by the end of it, the Angels outlasted the A’s 10-7 despite an impressive comeback from Oakland, which trailed 8-2 at one point.
The A’s scored five unanswered runs from the fourth to the seventh to pull to within one at one point. But former Oakland closer Andrew Bailey would eventually shut the door in the ninth for just his third major league save since 2013.
Right-hander Raul Alcantara endured a turbulent big league debut for the A’s, hitting three batters, committing a balk and lasting just three innings. That prompted manager Bob Melvin to call upon Ross Detwiler, his scheduled starter for Tuesday, to pitch out of the bullpen in an effort to steady things for his pitching staff.
The A’s gradually chipped away at their deficit, getting Khris Davis’ 35th homer in the process, but still dropped the opener of this three-game series.
Starting pitching report
Alcantara didn’t issue a single walk over his final three Triple-A starts, but the 23-year-old couldn’t harness his command in his big league debut. He became the first A’s pitcher since Howard Ehmke in 1930 to hit three batters and commit a balk in the same start. The Angels scored three in the first. Alcantara (0-1) hit Mike Trout with an 0-2 pitch, then came in high and tight to Albert Pujols that caused Pujols to drop his bat as he avoided the pitch, prompting some jawing from the visitors’ dugout. One run came home when Alcantara plunked Jefry Marte with the bases loaded. Another scored when he walked Andrelton Simmons. The right-hander would leave after three innings, allowing five runs on five hits with one walk and no strikeouts.
His 1.18 ERA at Triple-A was the lowest in the Pacific Coast League dating back to July 21, and Melvin indicated after the game that Alcantara would get another start in an effort to smooth things out. In the short term, long reliever Zach Neal will take the ball Tuesday night on three days' rest after throwing 3 2/3 innings Friday. Jharel Cotton remains on track to start Wednesday in his major league debut.
Detwiler, originally slated to start Tuesday, wound up going three innings and allowing three runs. He was replaced in the seventh by Sean Doolittle, who made his first appearance with Oakland since a strained shoulder sidelined him in late June. He struck out two in a scoreless inning, allowing one single. His fastball touched 95 and sat in the 93-94 range.
At the plate
Danny Valencia hit his 16th homer in the first, a two-run shot that cut the A’s lead to 3-2 at that time. Trailing 8-2 by the fourth, the A’s showed plenty of fight offensively to climb back into this one. Bruce Maxwell hit a two-run double and Joey Wendle collected his first career RBI with a single in the fourth as part of the attack.
Davis went to the opposite field yet again for his 35th homer, a solo shot in the seventh that pulled Oakland to within 8-7. That makes him the first Athletic to reach the 35-homer mark since Frank Thomas (39) and Nick Swisher did it in 2006.
In the field
Two errors from the A’s, one by Chad Pinder and one by Davis, contributed to an insurance run for the Angels in the top of the ninth.
A holiday crowd of 18,149 was on hand.
With Ross Detwiler entering Monday’s game in relief, the A’s did not immediately announce who would take his place for Tuesday night’s start. The Angels will go with Ricky Nolasco (5-12, 4.95) for the 7:05 p.m. game.