By JOSH DUBOW, Associated Press
OAKLAND — Shohei Ohtani and Taylor Ward provided just what the Los Angeles Angels needed to get over a bad loss in the opener of a day-night doubleheader.
Ohtani hit his 100th career home run, Ward hit a grand slam and the Angels salvaged a split by beating the the Oakland Athletics 9-1 in the nightcap Saturday.
The A’s won the opener 4-3 when Luis Barrera overcame a couple of earlier blunders by hitting a walk-off, three-run shot for his first career home run.
“Give our guys credit,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said of the response in Game 2. “Not an easy loss to endure. We did it, I thought really well.”
The Angels took little time to rebound in the second game with Ward hitting his second slam of the season in a five-run second inning against Adam Oller (0-3).
Ohtani then got in on the action in the fifth inning when he followed Mike Trout’s RBI double with his milestone homer to make it 8-1
“One hundred is a big number,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. “I’m proud of it. But it’s early in the season.”
That made Ohtani the third Japanese-born player with at least 100 homers in the majors, trailing only Hideki Matsui with 175 and Ichiro Suzuki with 117. Ohtani also joined Babe Ruth as the only players with at least 100 home runs and at least 250 strikeouts as a pitcher.
“He does it every day,” Maddon said. “It’s not surprising anymore. I don’t want to say expecting it, but we’re expecting it. That’s just who he is right now. He’s going to keep adding on to that. You’re going to hear more names, more milestones. He’s a baseball player. He loves to play.”
That was more than enough support for Michael Lorenzen (4-2), who allowed one run and five hits in seven innings.
Oller, called up from the minors as the 27th man for the doubleheader, allowed eight runs in five innings and has a 12.27 ERA in four starts this season.
Oakland has lost eight of its last nine home games, but the one win in the opener Saturday was a memorable one.
The A’s trailed the opener 3-1 with two outs in the ninth before rallying against closer Raisel Iglesias (1-1), who had converted 21 straight opportunities dating to last season.
Ramon Laureano doubled and Christian Bethancourt walked before Barrera launched the drive into the right-field seats in his 17th career at-bat.
Barrera had made an error in left field that allowed the Angels to score their third run and was doubled off first on a fly out to right field in the seventh.
“I didn’t forget about it all game, but I wanted to make a difference once it was my turn, and my turn did come,” Barrera said.
Lou Trivino (1-2) retired Trout with two on and two outs to end the ninth to set up the A’s first walkoff win of the season.
“It’s a great feeling for this group,” manager Mark Kotsay said. “They don’t give up. They fight through the end of the game every day, every night and I couldn’t be prouder of that that group.”
The Angels got a couple of sharp defensive plays in the opener with Velazquez making a leaping grab to rob Kemp to lead off the game and center fielder Aaron Whitefield making a diving catch to rob Sean Murphy to end the sixth.
Velazquez then ranged into the hole at shortstop to rob Murphy of a hit in the nightcap.
The Angels turned eight double plays in the two games.
LET’S PLAY TWO
The A’s are playing their second doubleheader of the week, having split a traditional twinbill in Detroit in Wednesday. This is the first time since 1986 that the A’s played a pair of nine-inning doubleheaders in the same week.
Oakland had back-to-back twinbills at home against the Orioles on Aug. 28-29 that season following rainouts earlier that month in Baltimore.
“I got here at 8 this morning and I will be leaving here about 10:30 tonight. But it’s baseball, right?” Kotsay said. “It’s part of our game.”
The combined attendance for the two games was 20,456.
Angels: INF Matt Duffy re-joined the team after playing the last two nights on a rehab assignment in Triple-A and was activated for the second game. He pinch hit for Luis Rengifo in the fifth inning. Rengifo left with a bruised right elbow after being hit by a pitch in the second. … The Angels also recalled RHP Andrew Wantz from Triple-A Salt Lake, optioned INF Jack Mayfield to Salt Lake and designated Whitefield for assignment between games.