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OC Register: Angels’ bats, bullpen fail to support Shohei Ohtani in season-opening loss

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OAKLAND — On Opening Day, the Angels’ bullpen took a loss that belonged to the offense.

Angels relievers Aaron Loup and Ryan Tepera gave up two runs in the eighth inning of a 2-1 loss to the Oakland A’s on Thursday night, a flashback to last season.

Shohei Ohtani pitched six scoreless innings, striking out 10, but he was denied a victory because he didn’t get enough support from either the hitters or the relievers.

A lineup that should be much more productive than last year nonetheless managed just a single run, on a Logan O’Hoppe RBI single in the fifth inning. They were shut down for five innings by Oakland rookie left-hander Kyle Muller.

Otherwise, the Angels’ best offense amounted to a few hard outs by Mike Trout, who went hitless in three at-bats despite hitting three balls that left the bat at 100 mph or harder. One was caught at the warning track.

The offensive failure left the Angels’ relievers with no margin for error.

Right-hander Jimmy Herget worked a perfect seventh inning.

In the eighth, Loup immediately gave up a ground-ball single to Esteury Ruiz. Then Loup threw a hanging curveball to Tony Kemp, who drilled it off the fence in center field for a game-tying double.

Loup struck out pinch-hitter Brent Rooker, and then Tepera entered to face Aledmys Diaz. He punched a single into left, putting the A’s on top.

Tepera escaped without further damage, getting out of a bases-loaded jam with a double play.

The Angels then came up empty in the ninth, dropping their ninth Opening Day game in the past 10 years.

It spoiled what might have been the final Opening Day for Ohtani in an Angels uniform. Obviously, one game means little toward the Angels having the kind of season they need to have if they are going to end their playoff drought and convince Ohtani to sign an extension, but it was a discouraging start.

Ohtani walked the first hitter of the game, but then he settled into cruise control against the A’s.

He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning, when he got into and out of a jam by once again demonstrating his ability to rise to the occasion.

He gave up a one-out single to Aledmys Diaz and then a double to Seth Brown. With runners at second and third and one out, Ohtani struck out both Jesus Aguilar and Ramon Laureano. He whiffed Laureano on a 100-mph fastball.

Ohtani did not allow a hit in any of the other five innings he pitched. He walked three and struck out a total of 10, throwing 93 pitches.

Right fielder Hunter Renfroe helped Ohtani avoid trouble with a circus catch in the fifth inning. Jace Peterson hit a line drive to right and Renfroe turned the wrong way as he went back on the ball. He reached backward and, seemingly without even having his eyes on the ball, made the catch over his head.

More to come on this story.

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