(SportsNetwork.com) – Oakland’s Jesse Hahn has a tough act to follow on
Tuesday when the Athletics continue a three-game series with the Texas Rangers
at the Coliseum.
Oakland nearly kicked off its season in historic fashion on Monday, as Sonny
Gray came within six outs of throwing a no-hitter and the Athletics cruised to
an 8-0 win versus the Rangers.
Gray (1-0) was seeking to become the second pitcher in MLB history to toss a
no-hitter in the first game of the season, but Ryan Rua broke up the bid with
a ground ball through the hole in right to start the eighth inning.
“I just tried to keep focus on making pitches,” said Gray. “I’m glad that we
could get this first win out of the way.”
Cleveland legend and Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller threw the lone Opening
Day no-hitter for the Indians against the White Sox on April 16, 1940.
The Oakland ace, who ended Texas’ 2014 season with a 4-0 shutout, struck out
three and walked one batter over eight phenomenal frames.
“You have to credit the guy who has the ball in his hand. It felt like Sonny
threw the ball very well tonight,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said after
his debut with the club.
Stephen Vogt crushed a three-run homer and Ben Zobrist cranked a two-run blast
in his first at-bat with the Athletics, who ended an MLB-record streak of 10
consecutive Opening Day losses.
Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo (0-1) was tagged with the loss after giving up
four runs on six hits with one walk and five strikeouts in four-plus innings.
Now Oakland turns to Hahn, who was picked up as part of the deal this
offseason that sent catcher Derek Norris to San Diego. Hahn endeared himself
to his new team this spring, posting a 3.06 ERA in five outings.
Hahn made his big league debut for the Padres a year ago and was 7-4 with a
3.07 ERA in 14 games (12 starts). He won seven of his first nine decisions
before going 0-2 with a 5.95 ERA over his final five games (3 starts).
Still, he tied for third among National League rookies in wins, ranked sixth
in strikeouts (70), tied for ninth in games started and 10th in innings
pitched (73 1/3).
“Last year, it gave me a lot of confidence and it was also real surreal
everything that was happening at the time,” said Hahn, who has never faced the
Rangers. “I’m going to look to learn and improve and take my experience from
last year and just keep getting better every day.”
Texas, meanwhile, will hand the ball to Colby Lewis, who will try to put a
shaky spring behind him. Lewis pitched to a 9.75 ERA with a 6/5 K/BB ratio in
12 Cactus League innings.
The 35-year-old righty, though, tied for the team lead in wins last season,
but was just 10-14 with a 5.18 ERA in 29 starts after missing all of 2013 and
most of 2012 with injuries to both his hip and elbow.
Seven of his wins came on the road.
Lewis is 8-4 with a 3.23 in 22 games (20 starts) versus the A’s, including a
1-0 mark with 4.38 ERA in a pair of starts against them last season.
Texas was 10-9 versus the A’s last season.