A's rookie has lights-out debut as Petco Park briefly goes dark

June 11th, 2024

SAN DIEGO -- It was a lights-out Major League debut for reliever Michel Otañez on Monday night during the A’s 6-1 loss to the Padres.

As if coming into a bases-loaded situation in his first game wasn’t challenging enough, Otañez got only three pitches in before the lights literally went out at Petco Park during the bottom of the seventh inning. With the ballpark plunged into darkness, fans broke out their cell phones and turned the flashlights on as if they were at a concert.

“LEDs, I didn’t think they went out,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “I’m not sure what happened there.”

A quick thinker in the Padres’ entertainment staff played “Lights” by the rock band Journey. There was barely enough time to hear Steve Perry sing, “When the lights go down in the city,” before the lights came back on.

(Journey, coincidentally, is Petco Park’s next major concert, on Aug. 30 with Def Leppard and Steve Miller Band.)

The official time of delay was three minutes. Otañez had even less time to gather himself to finish his matchup with Donovan Solano. It ended with an RBI walk. Jackson Merrill followed with an RBI single, and Ha-Seong Kim had a sacrifice fly for the 26-year-old right-hander’s first out in the Majors. Finally, Luis Campusano grounded out to end the inning.

“That was so rare,” Solano said. “I definitely didn't expect that here. That happened to me in winter ball in my city in Colombia. I said, 'Wow, that doesn't happen here.' That's a battle, a 1-2 count. But I was still ready.”

It wasn’t necessarily an auspicious debut for Otañez, but it certainly was memorable.