BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
The Athletics ended a dismal season on a positive note Wednesday, defeating the Los Angeles Angels 3–2 at the Coliseum to complete a three game sweep behind a story book conclusion to catcher Stephen Vogt’s final game before retirement.
Long ago eliminated from the pennant chase and with nothing to play for but pride, the A’s got seven shut out innings from Ken Waldichuk. It was just the second career win for Waldichuk (2-2, 4.93), who gave up only three hits and a walk while out dueling the Angels Shohei Ohtani.
Vogt, long a fan favorite who announced his retirement last month, was honored before the game and featured in video tributes throughout the afternoon. He broke up Ohtani’s perfect game with a walk in the fifth, and in dramatic fashion slammed the first pitch he saw from Zack Weiss leading off the bottom of the seventh inning into the right field bleachers for a home run in his final Major League at bat to give the A’s a 2-0 lead.
“I just got every emotion out,” Vogt said of his feelings while rounding the bases during the magical moment. “I was just like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ So happy and so elated. The little kid in you that used to play out in the front yard and pretend to be Will Clark, I let that that come out. I enjoyed every second of it. It was a thrilling, thrilling moment. I had tears in my eyes. It was everything I could dream of. To have my family with me on my final day and be given the opportunity to walk away on my terms, it’s not something I take lightly.”
Ohtani (15-9, 2.33) only allowed the one hit in five innings before developing a blister, but a Chad Pinder double and Conner Capel RBI sacrifice following Vogt’s walk saddled him with the loss. In spite of the setback, Ohtani’s five innings pitched allowed him to become the first player in Major League history to qualify for both the batting title (486 at bats) and ERA championship (162 innings pitched) in the same season.
After Oakland tacked on another run in the seventh to go up by three, the Angels finally got on the board in the eighth when Logan O’Hoppe laced an RBI single off Norge Ruiz to drive in Jo Adell, who had led off with a triple. Two batters later, Mike Trout connected for his 40th home run of the season with a drive into dead center field that landed above the luxury suites on Mt. Davis an estimated 490 feet away. It was the 350th homer of Trout’s career.
Kirby Snead came on to retire the final four Los Angeles batters to record his first Major League save.
Despite the positive vibes of the season ending sweep, the Athletics finished the season with a dismal record of 60-102, 46 games behind the AL West division winning Astros. It’s just the second time in franchise history since the team moved to Oakland in 1968 that they’ve reached or exceeded 100 losses.
Vogt became just the 10th player in the expansion era (post-1961) to have a home run for both his first and last career hit, with the last coming at least ten years after the first.
The Athletics used a franchise record 64 players over the course of the season.