Toiling in the virtual anonymity of a near-empty Coliseum, Oakland Athletics pitcher Daniel Mengden finally got his first home victory Monday night in an 8-1 win over the Chicago White Sox.
Mengden (2-2) came into the game a hard-luck 0-10 in home games for the A's, just one game shy of the longest run of home futility to start a career since 1908 by someone named Bobby Hasty.
It hasn't always been his fault, as the Athletics haven't often given Mengden adequate support either at the plate or in the field.
That wasn't the case against a Chicago team that came in after having its entire road series against Minnesota canceled by bad weather. Mengden lost his chance for a second career shutout when Jose Abreu homered to center leading off the ninth, with Bob Melvin bringing in Yusmeiro Petit to finish up.
Mengden finished with one walk and six strikeouts in eight innings, throwing 106 pitches, 70 of them strikes.
With the Golden State Warriors playing next door, the San Jose Sharks in the Stanley Cup playoffs and a free-for-all 50th anniversary game looming Tuesday night, just 7,479 turned out to see the A's win and improve their record to 7-10.
Mengden's effort was a welcome sight for a starting staff which had seen only one pitcher – left-hander Sean Manaea – pitch six innings or more in a game through the first 16 games of the season.
The outcome wasn't in doubt by the time Mengden went out for the ninth inning, with Stephen Piscotty driving in a run with a single and Jed Lowrie hitting a two-run single for an 8-0 margin.
Some shaky White Sox defense helped the A's score three times in the seventh inning for a 5-0 lead.
Jonathan Lucroy opened with a walk, with Matt Joyce reaching on an infield error and Marcus Semien singling to right to load the bases.
Jed Lowrie was next, and he rolled a perfect double play ball to shortstop Tim Anderson, who somehow let the ball roll through his legs for an error. While left fielder Nicky Delmonico was fumbling the ball in left, two runs scored.
Khris Davis grounded into a double play to score the last run of the inning from third base.
The A's got to Lopez for a second run in the bottom of the fifth inning on a two-out, run-scoring double by Davis that struck the center field fence on a fly.
Matt Joyce opened the inning by drawing a walk, with Semien striking out and Lowrie grounding to second. Davis then hit a drive to deep center that Adam Engel couldn't catch up with, playing the carom off the fence while Joyce came around to score and put the A's up 2-0.
Matt Olson broke up a scoreless game by hitting the first pitch he saw from Lopez for a home run to deep right field to lead off the fourth inning.
The A's first baseman was coming off an 0-for-11 series in Seattle that included six strikeouts, and Olson looked disgusted with himself when he struck out to end the first inning against Lopez with runners on first and second.
The A's backed Mengden with some stellar defense, including two plays in center field by Mark Canha. Normally a corner outfielder who has also dabbled as a first baseman, Canha made one catch on a sinking liner coming forward and in the sixth inning tracked a Matt Davidson drive to right center and caught it against the fence for the third out.
– The announced attendance of 7,479 (it looked smaller) marked the fourth time in nine games the A's have been under 10,000. Last season the A's were under 10,000 just three times in 81 games.