The Oakland Athletics obviously should just skip opening day and go right to Game 2 of the Major League Baseball season. They can't ever win their first one.
For the 10th consecutive season, the Athletics lost on opening day, setting a major league record. They fell Monday night 2-0 to the Cleveland Indians, who broke a scoreless tie in the ninth inning.
Though not exclusively, the A's opening-day problems mostly seem offensive; the A's have scored 13 runs total in their past 10 openers, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Oakland's dubious streak began in 2005 with a 4-0 loss at Baltimore with left-hander Barry Zito taking the personal "L." Their 2006 opener was a 15-2 loss against the Yankees, again with Zito on the mound. They haven't used the same starting pitcher twice in any opener since.
The old record belonged to the Atlanta Braves, who lost every opener from 1972-1980.
With A's closer Jim Johnson struggling (and getting booed) in his Oakland debut, the tie-breaking run came home in the top of the ninth on a sacrifice fly by Nyjer Morgan, who played in Japan in 2013. John Axford walked two but locked down the save, striking out Nick Punto to end his debut as Indians closer.
Justin Masterson tossed three-hit ball over seven innings for the Indians. The A's squandered a chance to score the first run in the eighth when Daric Barton tagged up from second base — and subsequently could only reach third — on a Josh Donaldson fly ball off the top of the fence in center.
Sonny Gray kept the Tribe off the board for six innings. Gray also made a great play in the sixth after taking an Asdrubal Cabrera comebacker off his ankle, recovering the ball and throwing home in time to get runner Michael Brantley at the plate. Catcher John Jaso had set up in fair territory but close to the baseline, prompting a discussion by Indians manager Terry Francona and umpire Mike Winters. Winters decided to check video and came away satisfied that Jaso had allowed Brantley a sliding path and didn't violate new rules about blocking the plate and collisions.
Gray said he expects his ankle to be OK, but they'll check it again Tuesday to be sure.
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