A pivotal four-game series between the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland A’s got off to an odd start Thursday night.
With the score tied 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Angels shortstop Erick Aybar smacked a high-bouncing ball down the first base line. A’s pitcher Dan Otero and first baseman Brandon Moss both converged on the ball, with Otero grabbing it in time to tag Aybar.
It wasn’t that simple, however.
Aybar, who collided with Otero, was awarded first base after the umpire ruled that Moss had obstructed the runner’s path to first base. A’s manager Bob Melvin unsuccessfully argued the call and announced that Oakland would be playing the rest of the game under protest.
UPDATE (2:55 p.m.): Maybe not. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday, citing a source, that the A’s decided against filing the protest.
“Obviously, I’m confused by it,” Moss said after the game, via SFGate.com. “Dan actually ran into me, not Aybar. Then when Dan caught the ball, Aybar veered in, I know he veered inside the line. There is video to prove it.”
The Angels went on to leave the bases loaded in the inning, but Howie Kendrick send them home victorious with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th. Although the controversial call didn’t directly lead to L.A.’s winning run, the A’s still viewed it as a turning point.
“With one out, nobody on, it changes the dynamics of the inning,” Moss said. “It changes where we are starting off the next inning. It changes a lot of things when the leadoff hitter gets on and he shouldn’t.”
The 4-3 win increased the Angels’ lead over the A’s in the American League West standings to two games. The teams have six games remaining against one another, including three more this weekend.
Thumbnail photo via Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports Images