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 drop first game in major league history using new extra-innings rule — Press Telegram
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.
Oakland Athletics’ Matt Olson, left, celebrates after hitting a grand slam home run against the Los Angeles Angels in the tenth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. The Athletics won 7-3 in 10 innings. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
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.