San Francisco Chronicle
Another strong outing, this time by Bassitt
ANAHEIM — Shohei Ohtani sprang for second base. Chris Bassitt’s fastball arrived low. Sean Murphy caught it and fired to second in one motion, his right leg whipping to the side, catcher’s mask loosed by the recoil.
Ohtani boasts excellent speed. The Angels’ twoway star on Thursday became the first player to steal 15 bases and pitch in 15 games in a season since 1901. Murphy owns a strong arm. But teams have tested him, converting 30 of 37 steal attempts before Friday.
Murphy’s throw was early and perfectly placed. Tony Kemp placed a tag on Ohtani’s right hip. A onerun game at the time hinged on such a margin. Bassitt allowed two more hits that inning but no runs. The A’s finished a 20 win, their second shutout in two nights in Anaheim.
Starting pitching continues to pace them. In recent days, the A’s swung trades to bolster their lineup and bullpen. A new center fielder and setup option arrived. Depth in the infield and at catcher should join Saturday. The rotation required no such reinforcement.
A’s starters have not allowed a run in their past three games and in five of their past 10. Bassitt quieted the Angels for seven innings on Friday. He scattered six hits, just one for extra bases. Sergio Romo worked a scoreless eighth, retiring the top of Anaheim’s lineup in order, and has not allowed a run in his past 13 outings. Lou Trivino converted his 10th straight save chance.
David Fletcher shot Bassitt’s first pitch of the game up the middle for a single. Bassitt retired his next 10 hitters in a row. Phil Gosselin pulled a breaking ball into left field for a single to snap that streak with one out in the fourth. It was the first inning where Bassitt labored.
Bassitt fell behind Max Stassi, 21, shook his head and walked behind the mound, breathing deeply before climbing it again. His next two pitches missed. His rebound was quick. Bassitt struck out Brandon Marsh on three pitches, clenching his fist as he walked to the dugout.
In the fifth, Adam Eaton roped a oneout double. Bassitt struck out Jack Mayfield to bring up Fletcher, who has hounded Bassitt, entering Friday with a .389 average against the A’s righthander. Bassitt induced a groundout on an 02 curveball.
By that point, Bassitt was pitching with a narrow lead. Angels lefthander Patrick Sandoval had taken a nohitter into the ninth inning of his previous outing and totaled 108 pitches. He threw 115 pitches over 52⁄3 innings Friday. Six walks drove his count up. Sandoval also allowed four hits, but the A’s could only capitalize once. Nine of his baserunners were stranded.
The A’s loaded the bases with two outs in the second inning on a single and two walks. Sandoval struck Kemp out swinging. They loaded the bases again with one out in the fourth. Sandoval struck out Kemp on three straight swingthroughs but, in a full count to Mark Canha, missed outside with a changeup to force in the game’s first run.
Bassitt retired the Angels in the seventh inning, his last, on five pitches and exited at 95 total. In his previous outing, Bassitt bemoaned a lack of offspeed command. He used a harder slider Friday as his primary offspeed offering along with three types of fastballs. He struck out seven in his best outing of July; he entered with a 5.40 ERA in four starts this month.
Matt Chapman provided insurance with a 402foot blast off reliever Mike Mayers in the eighth. It was the third baseman’s 14th home run this season, all but three solo shots.
Sandoval struck out six batters. including Kemp, a lefthanded hitter, three times. Starting Saturday, such matchups might go to Josh Harrison, the righthanded utilityman acquired Friday from the Nationals.