AKLAND, Calif. — A new team. A couple of new positions. A different spot in the batting order.
Welcome to Zack Cozart’s first week with the Los Angeles Angels.
“A little different,” Cozart said.
If all the upheaval is bothering the veteran infielder, it’s hard to tell.
Cozart had two hits and two RBI, Mike Trout also drove in two runs and the Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 8-3 on Saturday.
Los Angeles finished with 12 hits. Albert Pujols had two hits and two RBI, and No. 9 batter Rene Rivera had two hits and scored two runs.
Cozart, who signed a $38 million, three-year deal with Los Angeles in free agency, helped the Angels get off to a fast start. He tripled and scored on Trout’s double in the first. He also hit a two-run double in a three-run sixth as Los Angeles jumped out a 7-0 lead.
Cozart played shortstop during his first seven seasons with Cincinnati. But he started at second on opening day and played third and second in Los Angeles’ second game before starting at second again on Saturday after Ian Kinsler went on the disabled list with a groin injury.
Cozart is batting .357 (5 for 14) with four extra-base hits with his new team.
“It says a lot for Zack, it says a lot for his ability and it says a lot for his talent,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He made a great transition to third base and at second base he’s making a seamless transition.”
Cozart turned a double play in the bottom of the fourth.
“Probably the hardest thing about second is the double play,” Cozart said. “You’re blind making that throw when you first catch it.”
Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker (1-0) gave up three runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked four while improving to 5-0 with a 2.38 ERA in his last seven starts against Oakland.
Shoemaker got two quick outs in the sixth on three pitches. Then he walked Jed Lowrie on four pitches, the first of five straight batters to reach in a three-run inning.
“Being honest, that’s atrocious,” Shoemaker said. “I’ve got to find a way to re-focus in, bear down. I thought I was doing that, I just missed the zone.”
A’s starter Daniel Mengden (0-1) was charged with six runs, five earned, and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He also threw two wild pitches.
“I thought he threw the ball well,” A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell said. “His command was there. There were some mishaps behind the plate that were my fault. It’s on me that the game was out of reach more than it should have. He showed a lot of poise on the mound.”
Oakland stranded nine runners, including five in scoring position.
Scioscia moved past former A’s and Angels manager Dick Williams for 21st all-time with his 1,572nd win. … The A’s acquired RHP Josh Lucas from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for RHP Casey Meisner. The A’s optioned Lucas to Triple-A Nashville. … Angels RHP Luke Bard pitched a scoreless ninth in his major league debut.
“There’s not a ton to go on. Our reports from Japan are that he could be upwards of 100 mph, with a good split and he knows what he’s doing. We’ll get a first-hand look at it tomorrow, but usually you have a better idea going to the plate what you’re going to see. In this case, maybe not so much.” — A’s manager Bob Melvin on facing two-way Japanese star Shohei Ohtani on Sunday.
LABOR LEADER HONORED
The A’s honored civil rights activist and labor leader Cesar Chavez on what would have been his 91st birthday, a state holiday in California. About 200 of his relatives attended the game.
Angels: Kinsler was placed on the DL with a groin sprain. INF Nolan Fontana was promoted from the minors.
Athletics: OF Matt Joyce (ankle soreness) was in Saturday’s lineup as the DH.
Ohtani makes his major league pitching debut in Sunday’s series finale. He’ll be opposed by RHP Daniel Gossett.