ANAHEIM (AP) — Nick Tropeano pitched five-hit ball into the seventh inning in his Angels debut, and Kole Calhoun’s two-run homer was the Angels’ only hit in a 2-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday night.
Calhoun homered in the third and four pitchers combined on an eight-hit shutout, allowing the Angels to salvage a split a four-game series with their upstate AL West rivals.
Tropeano (1-0) was impressive in a spot start for the Angels, yielding one walk and striking out five.
He was nearly matched by Jesse Chavez (0-1), who gave up one hit and three walks in six innings during his first start of the season.
But that hit was costly: Calhoun drove a one-out pitch to right after Drew Butera reached on a throwing error.
Los Angeles didn’t have a baserunner after the third inning. The Angels won with just one hit for the third time in franchise history, the first since June 16, 1986.
Oakland hadn’t lost a game while giving up only one hit since April 14, 1992, at Kansas City.
The Angels traded backup catcher Hank Conger to the Astros last winter to get Tropeano, who went 1-3 with a 4.57 ERA in his first four major-league starts with Houston last September. The Long Island native competed for the fifth spot in Los Angeles’ rotation in spring training, but Hector Santiago won the spot.
Given the chance in Anaheim by C.J. Wilson’s stiff elbow and Matt Shoemaker’s bereavement leave, Tropeano showed off his nasty changeup and improved as the game went along, leaving to a standing ovation after Josh Reddick’s leadoff single in the seventh.
Fernando Salas escaped that jam, and Joe Smith narrowly got out of the eighth when Calhoun tracked down Reddick’s drive to the right-field wall with two on.
Huston Street pitched the ninth for his fifth save, though he allowed his first baserunner of the season on Marcus Semien’s two-out infield single.
Chavez began the season in Oakland’s bullpen, but largely mowed down the Angels in his return to the rotation. After the rocky third that included two walks, he retired his final nine batters.
Athletics: Chavez got the start in place of Jesse Hahn, who has a blister.
Angels: Wilson’s scheduled start was pushed to Saturday. The left-hander doesn’t expect his elbow to be a problem this weekend or long-term.
Athletics: Scott Kazmir takes the mound when Oakland opens a weekend series at the Coliseum against Dallas Keuchel and Houston.
Angels: Garrett Richards makes his second start of his comeback from surgery when the Angels open a three-game home series against the Texas Rangers.