OAKLAND -- The A's powered their way past the Angels on Monday night, celebrating Opening Night in their home park with a pair of home runs from Khris Davis, and another off the bat of Stephen Vogt, in a 4-2 victory behind right-hander Kendall Graveman.Their efforts overshadowed reigning American League
OAKLAND -- The A's powered their way past the Angels on Monday night, celebrating Opening Night in their home park with a pair of home runs from Khris Davis, and another off the bat of Stephen Vogt, in a 4-2 victory behind right-hander Kendall Graveman.
Their efforts overshadowed reigning American League MVP Michael Trout's first homer of the season, a two-run shot off Graveman in the third that temporarily gave the Angels the lead. Graveman made it through six innings in his first career Opening Night start, tallying seven strikeouts. He scattered six hits and walked two in the win.
"We talked before the game about everybody needing to contribute," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I've been saying it all spring. Not only did Kendall give us what we needed, but we ran some bullpen guys out there that did what they were asked to do. We got a little bit of everything. Didn't make any mistakes, and that's what it takes to win close games like that."
A sell-out crowd at the Coliseum witnessed Vogt claim the first A's hit of the season, a solo homer to right off Angels starter Ricky Nolasco with one out in the second. Nolasco was also responsible for Davis' homer in the sixth that put the A's back on top, following Yonder Alonso's game-tying single in the fifth. Davis' second home run came in the eighth against right-hander JC Ramirez.
Davis, beginning his second season in green and gold, waited to hit his first home run of the 2016 season until his 14th game, yet he still managed to finish with 42. Six of them came against the Angels, who couldn't overcome his latest blasts. Davis finished with three hits and became just the second player in Oakland history to count off two homers on Opening Day, joining Jason Giambi (2000).
Nolasco yielded seven hits in the loss, a 5 2/3-inning performance that included two walks and four strikeouts. It was the right-hander's fourth time starting on Opening Night but his first with the Angels.
"I just think a couple of mistakes there to Vogt and to Davis kind of cost the game," Nolasco said. "But I felt good. I thought I was down in the zone for the most part and making pitches I needed to make. A couple of balls fell in, but the two balls I hung there were the difference in the game."
Along with Davis, Vogt and Jed Lowrie also turned in multihit efforts for the A's, who had dropped 11 of their previous 12 openers. The Angels have lost four consecutive Opening Night contests.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Trout's laser: Trout briefly put the Angels in front, 2-1, with a two-run blast to left field off Graveman in the third. It had an exit velocity of 113.4 mph and a launch angle of 19 degrees, according to Statcast™. The Angels' star center fielder now has three career Opening Day home runs, tying Joe Rudi and Tim Salmon for the franchise record. More >
What a relief: Following Graveman's departure, the A's got a shutdown inning from right-hander Ryan Dull, who handled the task with ease. Dull, who enjoyed a fantastic rookie campaign last year, struck out the side in the seventh to maintain Oakland's lead. His bullpen mates followed suit, with the lefty-righty tandem of Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson combining for a scoreless eighth. Right-hander Santiago Casilla, pitching for the A's for the first time since 2009, was awarded the ninth and recorded the save.
"The plan was if we got to the night inning, especially with the right-handers they have, he was going to pitch the ninth inning," Melvin said. "[He] did what we asked him to do. He's been in that situation before, but to be able to go out there in the first game after a little bit of a rough end to last year and close it out, I know was pretty rewarding for him and makes him feel good. Makes us feel good too."
Calhoun flashes leather: After Trout put the Angels ahead, 2-1, in the third, right fielder Kole Calhoun temporarily preserved the lead in the following inning with a leaping catch at the right-field wall to rob Vogt of a potential RBI double. Calhoun, a Gold Glove winner in '15, was visibly fired up after his outstanding grab, pumping his fist as he raced back to the dugout.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Free-agent addition Ben Revere made his Angels debut when he pinch-hit for Martin Maldonado in the ninth and became the 1000th player in franchise history.
Angels: Right-hander Matthew Shoemaker will make his first start of the regular season on Tuesday night as the Angels and A's play the second game of their four-game series in Oakland. Shoemaker, who was struck on the head by a line drive in his last Major League outing in September, went 9-13 with a 3.88 ERA in 27 starts in '16. First pitch at the Coliseum is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT.
A's: Left-hander Sean Manaea is set to christen his second season in the Majors with a start against the Angels on Tuesday. Manaea went 7-9 with a 3.86 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) following his April 29 promotion last year and ranked second among American League rookies in strikeouts (124) and innings pitched (144 2/3).
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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.