Jim Johnson Shaky In Oakland Athletics Debut As A’s Drop Record 10th Straight Opener


New closer Jim Johnson came on in a scoreless game in the ninth inning and was touched for a pair of runs, which was all the Cleveland Indians needed to send the Oakland Athletics to their 10th consecutive Opening Day loss, a new MLB record.

The A’s (0-1) cost themselves a chance to score in the eighth inning when Daric Barton made an incorrect read on a ball crushed to center field by Josh Donaldson with runners at first and second and only one out.

Barton was at second and Coco Crisp at first when Donaldson launched a ball into the wet, chilly night into deep center field.

The ball hit the top of the wall and came back into play and Barton, who had gone back and tagged up, was only able to advance to third. Reliever Cody Allen (1-0) wriggled off the hook and left the bases loaded … and the game scoreless.

MLB.com Jane Lee reported via Twitter:

 

 

With the score still 0-0, manager Bob Melvin summoned new closer Jim Johnson to make his A’s debut in the top of the ninth, but it didn’t go well.

Johnson walked Asdrubel Cabrera to start the inning and Cabrera scooted to third on David Murphy’s base hit to right. Johnson (0-1) then plunked Yan Gomes with a 2-2 pitch to load the bases and Nyjer Morgan delivered a sacrifice fly to center for the first run of the game.

Nick Swisher followed by lining a single up the middle to give Cleveland (1-0) a 2-0 lead and that ended Johnson’s night. He exited to a chorus of boos from his new fans.

From Jane Lee of MLB.com via Twitter:

 

Fernando Abad stopped the bleeding, striking out Jason Kipnis and getting Carlos Santana to bounce into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

New Indians closer John Axford recorded his first save, but it wasn’t a particularly pretty or easy one. John Jaso drew a one-out walk and Barton later worked a walk before Nick Punto struck out to end the game. Axford had to throw 26 pitches to get the final three outs.

It was that kind of a night, though, as A’s starter Sonny Gray managed to throw six scoreless innings despite having to throw 105 pitches, including 29 just to get through the first. He allowed five hits and walked three with seven strikeouts.

Gray’s final inning was highlighted by the first video review in A’s history after Gray threw out Michael Brantley trying to score on Cabrera’s comebacker. Cleveland manager Terry Francona challenged the out call, which was upheld on review.

Cleveland starter Justin Masterson, an All-Star last season, was very good, allowing only three hits and a walk in seven innings, striking out four in a 92-pitch outing.

Donaldson had two of Oakland’s five hits on the night, while Jaso had the only extra-base hit—a second-inning double that was the A’s first hit of the season.

Oakland wiggled out of danger numerous times before the collapse in the ninth as the Indians stranded 11 runners.

The teams will be back at it Tuesday night at 7:05, with Scott Kazmir set to make his A’s debut against his former team and right-hander Corey Kluber scheduled to work for the Indians.

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Tags: Oakland Athletics