Montas sharp, Orioles defense not, in A’s 5-1 win

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Frankie Montas allowed two hits over six innings, the Athletics threw out two runners at the plate and Oakland held on and beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 in its home opener on Monday night.

A crowd of 17,503 weathered chilly temperatures to view a matchup between the teams with the two lowest payrolls in the major leagues. Attendance was the A’s lowest for a home opener without COVID restrictions in at least 30 years.

Montas (2-1) struck out five and walked two for his second straight win. He retired 12 of his first 13 batters and did not allow a hit until the fifth inning, giving A’s rookie manager Mark Kotsay his first win at the Coliseum since taking over for Bob Melvin during the offseason.

The A’s scored four unearned runs in the sixth after the Orioles third baseman Ramón Urías and second baseman Rougned Odor made errors. Sheldon Nuese and Cristian Pache had RBI singles in the inning.

Austin Hays had an RBI double for Baltimore and Urías added two hits.

The Orioles loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth before Dany Jimenez struck out pinch-hitter Ryan McKenna on a checked swing, dropping McKenna to 0 for 5 this year.

Oakland’s defense repeatedly came up big.

Baltimore’s Jorge Mateo doubled leading off the sixth and moved to third on a groundout choice but was thrown out sliding into home by first baseman Billy McKinney. Catcher Sean Murphy then made a strong play to chase down Anthony Santander’s foul pop near Oakland’s dugout.

After the Orioles got runners on the corners with one out in the seventh, right fielder Seth Brown – whose failed diving attempt in the fifth led to Baltimore’s first hit – caught Hays’ fly ball and then made a one-hop throw to the plate to catch Trey Mancini sliding into home.

The A’s returned to the Coliseum after a season-opening 10-game road They were greeted by a vocal that watched the A’s win their home opener for fifth time in 11 seasons.

Montas faced one over the minimum before walking Odor in the fifth. Hays followed with a two-out RBI double that deflected off Brown’s glove.

Baltimore starter Spenser Watkins, who last only three innings in his previous start, was much more crisp and allowed one run and two hits in five innings.

Joey Krehbiel (1-1) allowing one hit and three unearned runs in the fifth.

A’S PLACE 6 ON COVID LIST

The A’s added six players to the COVID-19 injured list – infielders Jed Lowrie and Chad Pinder, relievers A.J. Puk, Lou Trivino and Krby Snead, and catcher Austin Allen. Outfielder Stephen Piscotty was placed on the list on Friday.

Pitcher Sam Selman and infielders Nick Allen and Christian Lopes were added to the A’s active roster as substitute players.

FRUGAL FRANCHISES

The A’s ($48 million) and Orioles ($58 million) have a combined payroll that is lower than 21 of the other 28 teams.

UNITED FOR NOW

Prior to the game A’s president Dave Kaval and Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf joined together to raise the A’s flag just outside the south entrance to the Coliseum. Both have been supportive of efforts to get a proposed 35,000-seat waterfront stadium built for the team near downtown Oakland, although the A’s also have explored several potential sites in Las Vegas.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Athletics: RHP James Kaprielian (inflamed right AC joint) will make a rehab start with Triple-A Las Vegas on Wednesday.

UP NEXT

A’s LHP Cole Irvin (1-1, 5.40 ERA) will make his third start of the season Tuesday night. Irvin won last season in his only career appearance against Baltimore. Orioles RHP Chris Ellis was in Oakland, in position to be added to the roster to start.

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