Murphy homers for 1st hit in MLB debut, A’s blank Angels 4-0
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The white shaving cream from those celebratory pies was still stuck to Sean Murphy’s hair.
Who got him?
“Everybody, yeah,” Murphy said.
He sure gave the Oakland Athletics and his family plenty to cheer in a memorable major league debut.
Murphy homered for his first hit and caught a shutout that meant the most to him — along with a key September win. Marcus Semien added a two-run shot two batters after Murphy connected, and the A’s beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-0 on Wednesday night.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous or I didn’t have any anxiety out there, but once you’ve settled in the game, of course the home run helps, I felt much better and much more comfortable out there,” Murphy said.
Murphy drove an 0-1 pitch from Jake Jewell over the right-center wall in the fifth inning and replays showed his proud parents, Mike and Marge, cheering and celebrating in the stands.
“Hit a homer, catch a shutout, not a bad start,” manager Bob Melvin said. “I think he’ll probably tell you he’s just as proud of the shutout as he is the homer.”
Jurickson Profar also went deep as the A’s slugged away to give Tanner Roark (9-8) plenty of support — not to mention sparkling defense.
Roark pitched 6 2/3 innings, his third scoreless outing of the season. He didn’t allow a run over six innings May 9 at the Coliseum against the A’s while with Cincinnati.
The right-hander gave up five hits, struck out six and walked two in his sixth start for the A’s since being acquired from the Reds at the trade deadline. Yusmeiro Petit, Joakim Soria and Liam Hendriks finished a five-hitter that took just 2 hours, 31 minutes.
The 24-year-old Murphy, a third-round draft pick by the A’s out of Wright State in 2016, went 1 for 3 with a strikeout and was called for catcher’s interference in the third, allowing Shohei Ohtani to reach and load the bases.
Roark escaped unscathed by retiring Justin Upton on an inning-ending groundout.
Profar connected for his 19th home run with an opposite-field drive in the second off lefty Patrick Sandoval (0-2), who worked just 3 1/3 innings because the Angels want to be careful with the rookie prospect. Sandoval allowed one run on one hit, struck out three and walked one while facing the A’s for the first time in his career. He was coming off five scoreless innings with a career-best nine strikeouts his last time out in a no-decision against Texas.
“He’s going to be on a restricted pitch limit the rest of the way,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “We don’t want his payload to increase too much over what he threw last year.”
The Angels dropped to 3-15 in their last 18 games and have lost the season series to the A’s for the first time since 2013.
As a starter, Ohtani batted in a spot other than third in the order for the first time all season. He was moved down to fifth.
The two-way star, who snapped an 0-for-14 funk with a double Tuesday, struck out three times as the A’s hosted Japanese Heritage Night.
PUK WAITS HIS TURN
A’s left-hander A.J. Puk hasn’t pitched in more than a week, and Melvin is working to find the right spot for the 24-year-old prospect. Puk’s first two major league appearances came in the eighth inning of tight games against the Yankees and Giants. Puk was charged with a blown save against the Giants, then steadied himself with two scoreless innings in a 19-4 win over Kansas City on Aug. 26.
“We probably threw quite a bit at him early on,” Melvin said. “I talked to him a little bit about it today. We’ll get him in the right spot and we’ll get him rolling.”
Angels: Ausmus hinted that All-Star INF Tommy La Stella, recovering from a broken right leg, might not be ready to rejoin the Angels in Chicago this weekend as hoped. La Stella hasn’t progressed in what he is able to do rehabbing. “He still at times feels discomfort in the leg with certain movements,” Ausmus said.
Athletics: RHP Chris Bassitt is expected to rejoin the team Thursday after he and his wife welcomed the birth of their first child, a daughter named Landry Jayne, on Wednesday. Bassitt will come off the paternity list and is scheduled to start Saturday against Detroit, two days later than his regular turn in the rotation.
Angels: LHP Jose Suarez (2-5, 6.71 ERA) faces Oakland for the first time in his career and looking for his first victory in 11 starts — the longest winless stretch by an Angels pitcher this year — since June 15 at Tampa Bay.
Athletics: LHP Brett Anderson (11-9, 4.04) could set a career high for wins at 12, topping the total from his rookie season with the A’s in 2009.