OAKLAND – Sending their ace to the mound following an encouraging three-game sweep, the A’s seemed primed to keep the good times rolling.
Instead, their offense was stymied in a 4-1 defeat to the Los Angeles Angles that opened a six-game homestand at the Coliseum. The visitors struck quickly for three runs in the sixth off Sonny Gray to break a scoreless tie and take control, as the A’s saw their three-game winning streak halted.
Angels right-hander Nick Tropeano (1-0), called up from the minors Wednesday after Andrew Heaney was placed on the disabled list, continued to make life tough on Oakland hitters. In three career starts against the A’s, Tropeano is 3-0 with a 0.51 ERA. He’s allowed just one earned run over 17 2/3 innings.
Mike Trout delivered the crucial blow in that three-run sixth off Gray with a two-run homer, the first home run of the season for the Angels superstar.
The A’s collected 10 hits but finished 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Starting pitching report
Gray’s night took an abrupt turn over a span of three batters in the sixth. Yunel Escobar doubled with one out and Daniel Nava singled up the middle to drive him in. Then Trout jumped on the first pitch and hit a bullet that ricocheted off the concrete facing beyond the left-center fence for a two-run homer and 3-0 Angels lead.
Gray gave up six hits and the three runs in 6 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out six.
Ryan Dull continued his excellent start to his season. He entered in relief of Gray in the seventh and, after getting Yunel Escobar on a pop-up, hit Daniel Nava with a pitch. That snapped Dull’s streak at 13 consecutive batters retired to start his season. But with the bases loaded, he rang up Trout looking on a fastball to keep it a 3-0 game at that point.
The Angels tacked on a run off Liam Hendriks in the eighth. Albert Pujols singled and then stole second with surprising ease off Hendriks without a throw. He would come around to score on Andrelton Simmons’ two-out single for a 4-0 lead.
At the plate
The A’s left Gray with no margin for error on the mound because of their inability to capitalize on scoring opportunities. They stranded a runner in scoring position in the second and two in the third. Their best opportunity came in the fifth after Coco Crisp tripled to the wall in right-center with one out. But Chris Coghlan popped out to shallow left, and after Josh Reddick was intentionally walked, Danny Valencia grounded out to end the inning, with Pujols making a nice scoop in the dirt to finish the play.
The A’s managed to avoid the shutout in the ninth when Marcus Semien drove home Jed Lowrie with a single.
In the field
Neither team committed an error.
The announced turnout was 13,371.
Kendall Graveman (0-1, 3.38) takes the ball for the A’s and lefty Hector Santiago (0-0, 3.00) goes for the Angels in Tuesday’s 7:05 p.m. game