The very first major league game with an automatic runner in extra innings was decided with a blast rather than a bunt. Marcus Semien started the bottom of the 10th on second base under the new, out of favor rule and scored on Matt Olsons grand slam, sending out the Oakland Athletics over the Los Angeles Angels 7-3 on Friday night. Olson, whose alert toss from very first base nailed Angels free runner Shohei Ohtani in the top of the 10th, linked with one out.
“There’s going to be more excitement. I believe it would be a lot tougher to go to 17- or 18-inning games with a person on 2nd. You’d believe eventually somebody’s most likely going to get a knock. I seem like we’re just going to see some different things with that,” Olson said.
The As collected around home base to greet him on opening night. It certainly is intriguing. Big league Baseball set up the controversial extra-inning runner guideline for this season to keep games from dragging out amidst a compressed, 60-game schedule that began following a month’s long delay since of the coronavirus outbreak.
Ohtani, who set out to end the ninth for the Angels, wasn’t rather all set for it. The broadcast showed him in the dugout using a pullover when the game went to extras. Captured off guard, somebody reminded him he needed to go to second, and he quickly got organized.
“Let’s see what we do. I think the bunt is not a choice? We do not need no stinking bunt,” previous As pitcher Dave Stewart composed on Twitter. Ohtani attempted to advance on Jared Walsh’s leadoff grounder however was tagged out in a rundown.
After Semien took second in the bottom of the 10th, the As loaded the bases versus Hansel Robles (0-1) on a hit by pitch, a wild pitch and a walk. New Angels supervisor Joe Maddon generated reducer Hoby Milner, and with a five-man infield in place, Olson struck the first pitch far over the right-field wall. Maddon was asked how the extra-inning runner guideline impacted his method in the 10th.
“It’s interesting for sure – it’s [like] a leadoff double in the 10th, so they got us this evening. Strategy wise, we got to the five-man infield. We were ready to play that. Of course, the ball discussed our heads. Nothing we might do about that. Whatever that we had actually been working on, the people were ready for tonight, and we actually appreciate that,” Maddon answered.
According to STATS, Olson ended up being the 3rd player to strike a walk-off grand slam on Opening Day. He signed up with Sixto Lezcano (1980, Milwaukee Brewers) and Jim Presley (1986, Seattle Mariners). Burch Smith (1-0) pitched one inning for the win.
The game went to the 10th connected at 3 after Jason Castros connecting homer in the ninth versus As closer Liam Hendriks. The Angels couldn’t provide a win for Maddon in his managerial launching with the group. Maddon joined the Angels following five seasons directing the Chicago Cubs.
“We’re essentially playing one-third of a season, so that’s like losing a three-game series. That’s what it feels like,” Angels starter Andrew Heaney stated. A number of the Angels, including Justin Upton and Brian Goodwin, took a knee for the nationwide anthem, while As players Khris Davis and Tony Kemp raised a right fist to the air.
Los Angeles opened the season in Oakland for the 4th straight year.