Near Shohei Ohtani no-hitter almost completes ugly Athletics trifecta

Ohtani's near no-no almost completes ugly A's trifecta originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Athletics almost were no-hit by Los Angeles Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, which would have completed an unfortunate trifecta for Oakland.

Not only did the A's 4-2 loss to the Angels cap a sweep at the hands of their AL West rivals in Anaheim, but it was their 100th loss of the season, too. Also, they nearly were no-hit, which would have been a pretty terrible combination had Ohtani (W, 8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, BB, 10 K) made history.

In speaking with Bally Sports West's Erica Weston after the game, Ohtani said he knew he had a no-hitter going as soon as the fifth inning. As much as he wanted to make history, his focus wasn't focused on that.

"Yeah, I know the no-hitter was going on," Ohtani told Weston. "I wanted it badly, but more than that, I knew it was only a four-run game, so I was just focused on not putting runners on base."

With Ohtani just four outs away from history, A's right fielder Conner Capel broke up the no-hitter with a single past Angels shortstop Livan Soto. Dermis Garica followed with a single to left field before Ohtani recorded the final out in the top of the eighth inning.

After the game, A's manager Mark Kotsay explained how the back-to-back hits helped flip the momentum in Oakland's favor, which resulted in the A's scoring two runs in the ninth before bringing the tying run to the plate.

"Any time a pitcher is rolling through a lineup and having success and you can see the confidence building and the energy in the building, you know it's going to take a special at-bat, and Conner stayed on a ball away and put a good swing on it," Kotsay told reporters. "There's always that exhale, and Garcia gets a hit and we get some momentum offensively, and it carried over to the ninth.

"We all have pride. Nobody wants to go through a no-hit performance. I've been on that end myself as a player. So the dugout knew what was going on. The dugout was talking."

Ohtani had his off-speed pitches working all night. He dominated Oakland by throwing 49 percent sliders, 22 percent cutters, 14 percent curveballs, 11 percent sinkers, 5 percent splitters and just 4 percent four-seam fastballs.

"He threw a lot of off-speed pitches tonight, really left his fastball and dominated the hitters early with a slider-cutter-split combo and kept everything down below the zone," Kotsay explained. "It was a challenge up until Cape got that knock."

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"He had his slider working, his cutter," Capel said postgame. "You just got to go up there and battle and try and put the barrel on it, put a good swing on it."

The A's reached 100 losses on Thursday night for the first time since the franchise lost an Oakland-record 108 games in 1979.

With just six games remaining, the A's historically bad 2022 season finally is nearing an end.