ANAHEIM — Despite not going the distance, Chris Bassitt delivered the start the A’s were looking for against the Angels.
The right-hander threw 7 2/3 innings, allowed two runs, walked only one and struck out eight in the A’s 6-2 win over the Halos at Angel Stadium on Saturday night.
Bassitt was effective his first turn through the order as he needed just 40 pitches through the first three frames while striking out four, including Shohei Ohtani twice. Bassitt set down the two-way star on a 95.1 mph fastball in the first and on a 75.2 mph curveball in the third.
After giving up a third-inning single to David Fletcher, Bassitt retired 10 straight before giving up a sixth-inning, two-out double to Ohtani. The double from Ohtani made him just one of two Angels to reach scoring position against Bassitt.
“I thought he looked really good tonight,” Aramis Garcia said after catching Bassitt’s outing. “I know he probably felt like he was scuffling with his mechanics a little bit, but that’s what makes Chris so good.
“He’s able to make adjustments on the fly. He doesn’t let the game speed up on him. He throws six different pitches and it just seems like he’s never without any of them. He just finds a way to make an adjustment to get the feel back that he’s looking for, and I thought he did a really good job of that tonight.”
With his workload creeping up, Bassitt needed just six pitches to retire the Angels in order in the seventh, which held his pitch count to 82.
Bassitt’s night came to an end after a tough eighth inning in which he gave up three hits and two runs. Oakland manager Bob Melvin took the ball from Bassitt after he surrendered a two-out triple to Ohtani on a 102.3 mph drive to center field that was just out of the reach of Ramón Laureano.
“It was easy to do,” Melvin said of letting Bassitt pitch the eighth. “I mean, his pitch count was under control. He had only given up three hits up to that point, or whatever it was. And his pitch count was manageable the entire game. … It’s not just a given if a guy’s pitching really well he’s just gonna come out after six innings. He’s proven to be able to go a little bit deeper than that [and] he did it again today.”
Saturday’s outing was the longest one Bassitt has delivered this season and the third time this year he has pitched seven-plus innings. It was Bassitt’s first time going 7 2/3 innings since throwing eight scoreless against the Tigers in 2019.
After debuting with the White Sox in 2014 and being a part of the A’s organization since 2015, Bassitt has been able to share the clubhouse with top arms like Chris Sale and Sonny Gray.
Bassitt said those experiences have shown him how valuable an ace can be.
He said he isn’t aiming for the individual awards that his former teammates have been contenders for, but rather looking to step into the role of being someone his team can rely on every time.
“Obviously, numbers-wise, Sonny [is] chasing Cy Youngs, Sale [is] chasing Cy Youngs,” he said. “I know dang well that I can eat innings. I know I can put up good numbers. I just want to be reliable. I think that should be everyone’s goal, obviously, but I know I have the ability to do it. I work hard with the training staff just to make sure that every fifth day I’m ready.”