ANAHEIM -– For six innings Wednesday the A’s couldn’t figure out how to drive runners in.
After that, they couldn’t find a way to stop.
What was shaping up as a frustrating night of missed opportunities instead turned into an offensive gold mine. The A’s routed the Angels 9-2 behind an 18-hit attack that turned the tables on the home team, after Los Angeles walloped the A’s 14-1 the night before.
Rarely do you see a box score like this one.
The A’s stole four bases, their most since swiping seven back on Aug. 6, 2011 at Tampa Bay. That was at a point in the game when the A’s were getting into scoring position, but couldn’t find their way to home plate with a map. They scratched out a run in the first but had trouble supporting the superb pitching of Sonny Gray.
In the end, Gray (2-0) got the victory, and did he ever deserve it. Oakland’s ace went seven innings and gave up just two hits. The Angels’ only run off him came in the second, when David Freese doubled and eventually scored on Erick Aybar’s groundout. Gray struck out seven and walked two.
Starting pitching report
The key to Gray’s night came in the bottom of the third. He walked Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout back-to-back to load the bases with one out. But with his back against the wall, Gray got Albert Pujols to chase a ball in the dirt for a strikeout,then retired Freese on a pop out to end the threat and keep it a 1-1 game.
The lopsided score allowed manager Bob Melvin to insert Arnold Leon into a low-pressure situation for his major league debut. Called up from Triple-A Nashville earlier in the day, Leon loaded the bases with one out but limited the Angels to one run and struck out Collin Cowgill to end it.
At the plate
If you witnessed the first six innings of this game, perhaps you thought you were dreaming in the seventh. Who would have thought the A’s would bat around in a five-run rally, with all the runs coming with two outs?
The A’s were 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position when Stephen Vogt stepped up with runners on the corners and two outs to face lefty reliever Cesar Ramos in a tie game. He shot a single through the hole on the right side to put the A’s ahead. That began string of five consecutive hits off the Angels’ bullpen, including Billy Butler’s two-run homer to dead center that followed Vogt’s hit. Josh Reddick doubled as part of his three-hit night, and Brett Lawrie -– enduring a rough road trip at the plate –- chipped in with a run-scoring infield single.
Vogt, filling in for Ben Zobrist as the No. 3 hitter, is batting .357 on the road trip (10-for-28) with nine RBI in nine games. Butler, the man hitting right behind him, has gone deep each of the past two nights and has 10 RBI for the trip. Ike Davis had three hits and leadoff man Sam Fuld went 2-for-4 with three runs, a walk and a stolen base.
In the field
Both teams turned in errorless games.
A crowd of 30,034 was on hand.
Reliever Jesse Chavez (0-0, 0.00) switches gears and makes a spot start in place of Jesse Hahn in Thursday’s 4:05 p.m. road trip finale. Chavez is 8-8 with a 3.89 ERA in 23 career starts. The Angels announced a pitching change, as Nick Tropeano (0-0, 0.00) was called up to start instead of C.J. Wilson, who has elbow stiffness.