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OC Register: Angels drop first game in major league history using new extra-innings rule


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OAKLAND — As if playing Opening Day in July in a stadium filled with cardboard cutouts instead of fans wasn’t different enough, the Angels went a little further to do something memorable on Friday night.

For the first time in baseball history, a runner was placed at second base to start the 10th inning.

The Angels came up on the wrong side, though, losing 7-3 to the Oakland A’s, who parlayed their free runner into a Matt Olson grand slam against Hoby Milner.

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    Los Angeles Angels right fielder Brian Goodwin (18) collides with second baseman Tommy La Stella after catching Oakland Athletics’ Chad Pinder’s fly out during the second inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    Los Angeles Angels’ Andrelton Simmons, right, is congratulated by manager Joe Maddon, center, after scoring against the Oakland Athletics during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    Los Angeles Angels second baseman Tommy La Stella (9) throws to first base after forcing out Oakland Athletics’ Ramon Laureano at second base on a double play hit into by Khris Davis during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout reacts with first base coach Jesús Feliciano after singling against the Oakland Athletics during the third inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    Oakland Athletics catcher Sean Murphy, right, tags out Los Angeles Angels’ Jason Castro at home during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon, left, talks with this team before a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    Oakland Athletics’ Ramon Laureano, right, celebrates with third base coach Al Pedrique after hitting a solo home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    Los Angeles Angels’ Brian Goodwin, center left, raises his fist while kneeling with Andrelton Simmons, center, and Justin Upton, right, during the national anthem before a baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the Angels in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    Los Angeles Angels’ Jason Castro, left, is congratulated by manager Joe Maddon after hitting a solo home run against the Oakland Athletics during the ninth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    Oakland Athletics designated hitter Khris Davis (2) raieses his fist during the national anthem before a baseball game between the Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    Los Angeles Angels right fielder Brian Goodwin cannot catch an RBI-triple hit by Oakland Athletics’ Matt Chapman during the eighth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Angels-Athletics-Baseball-2-1-3.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels’ Justin Upton, center, kneels during the national anthem before a baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the Angels in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    Los Angeles Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney throws against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    Oakland Athletics’ Tony Kemp, right, wears a shirt that reads “Black Lives Matter” as he waits to take batting practice before a baseball game between the Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani singles against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    Oakland Athletics pitcher Frankie Montas (47) throws against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    Los Angeles Angels’ Andrelton Simmons, from left, Albert Pujols, Tommy La Stella, Justin Upton, Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, David Fletcher and manager Joe Maddon hold a black ribbon in honor of the Black Lives Matter movement with teammates and the Oakland Athletics before baseball game between the Athletics and the Angels in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    Players and coaches from the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels hold a black ribbon in honor of the Black Lives Matter movement before the teams played a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    The Oakland Athletics play the Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Coliseum during the third inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon, left, talks to his team during the first inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    Cardboard cutouts of a vendor, fans and former Oakland Athletics players are placed in seats at Oakland Coliseum before a baseball game between the Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Angels-Athletics-Baseball-8-5.jpg

    Various cardboard cutouts placed in seats at Oakland Coliseum are shown behind a “Black Lives Matter” sign before a baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    Oakland Athletics’ Khris Davis, left, and teammates wear shirts that read “Black Lives Matter” before a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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    Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, center, gestures during warm ups before a baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the Angels in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Angels-Athletics-Baseball-1-5.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, left, throws during warm ups before a baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the Angels in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Angels-Athletics-Baseball-2-7.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, center, gestures during warm ups before a baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the Angels in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Angels-Athletics-Baseball-3-5.jpg

    Los Angeles Angelsl Mike Trout takes batting practice before a baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the Angels in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Angels-Athletics-Baseball-4-5.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, center, and Andrelton Simmons, top left, warm up between teammates wearing “Black Lives Matter” shirts before a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Angels-Athletics-Baseball-5-5.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels’ Brian Goodwin wears a shirt that reads “Black Lives Matter” before his team’s baseball game against the Oakland Athletics in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Angels-Athletics-Baseball-6-5.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels’ Justin Upton, right, wears a shirt that reads “Black Lives Matter” as he walks with Andrelton Simmons before their team’s baseball game against the Oakland Athletics in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Angels-Athletics-Baseball-9-5.jpg

    Oakland Athletics’ Tony Kemp, right, wears a shirt that reads “Black Lives Matter” as he waits to take batting practice before a baseball game between the Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Angels-Baseball-11-3.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani throws to the plate during an intrasquad game in the restart of baseball training camp Monday, July 13, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, file)

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It was the first application of a new major league rule intended to prevent long extra inning games in this pandemic-shortened season. The rule had been used in the minors and international play.

Olson, a Gold Glove first baseman, had helped defuse the Angels’ chance in the top of the 10th too.

Left-handed hitting Jared Walsh hit the ball to the right side — as he tried to move Shohei Ohtani to third — but Olson made a quick throw across the diamond to get Ohtani in a rundown. The Angels still managed to load the bases with two outs, but Andrelton Simmons grounded out.

In the bottom of the inning, the A’s loaded the bases with one out, and the Angels brought in a five-man infield to try to cut down the run at the plate. Olson lofted a drive over the right field fence, ending the game.

The Angels had dropped the first game of a 60-game season in which a quick start is considered vital.

The season is so short, of course, because the coronavirus pandemic wiped out nearly four months worth of baseball, leaving the sport to return to play in empty stadiums with piped-in crowd noise.

Many players wore masks on the field during the warmups, and all of the non-playing personnel did at all times. They stood 6 feet apart as they lined up for introductions. After outs when they’d normally throw the ball around the infield, they instead just threw it back to the pitcher, minimizing the people who touched it. Several members of each team sat in the stands, allowing for more social distancing.

The Angels players in the stands were surrounded by cardboard cutouts with pictures of fans, which occupied several sections in the stadium’s lower bowl. The public address system played a constant din of crowd noise, punctuated by louder cheers when the game dictated.

It created a normal atmosphere around what turned out to be a game with all the normal things that make baseball fans suffer and rejoice.

The Angels loaded the bases in the first, only to come up empty. They would leave the bases loaded two more times. They could only score one run while Andrew Heaney was on the mound, wasting his solid 4 2/3-inning performance.

Heaney gave up just one run on two hits. Heaney, who had back stiffness that kept him from making his final intrasquad start, was pulled after just 67 pitches.

Still, the Angels had a 2-1 lead after David Fletcher’s sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh, and Jacob Barnes got through one inning before Ty Buttrey blew it in the eighth.

Buttrey gave up a game-tying double to Ramon Laureano and then a go-ahead triple to Matt Chapman.

In the top of the ninth, against All-Star closer Liam Hendriks, Jason Castro hit a game-tying homer.

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