ANAHEIM -- Shohei Ohtani navigated through the bags and boxes strewn across the Los Angeles Angels' clubhouse after their season finale, exchanging hugs and memorabilia signatures with his teammates while they all packed up for the winter.
Everybody in the building knew this might be Ohtani's final game day with this team after six unprecedented years, and the uncertainty over their beloved two-way superstar looms above every other question hanging over the Halos.
Brandon Drury homered twice, doubled and drove in three runs, and the Angels wrapped up their eighth consecutive losing season with a 7-3 victory over the major league-worst Oakland Athletics on Sunday.
Ohtani was in the Angels' dugout all weekend, cheering on his teammates for their final two games less than two weeks after having surgery on his pitching elbow. Ohtani can become a free agent after the World Series, and the Halos haven't made the playoffs or finished higher than third in the AL West during his tenure in Anaheim.
"Shohei is going to make the best decision for himself and his family, and we respect that, (but) we hope he's an Angel for the rest of his career," said Angels outfielder Mickey Moniak, who had a breakout season — particularly while hitting behind Ohtani. "I'd love to be his teammate for a really long time."
The Angels finished their latest hugely disappointing season at 73-89, matching their 2022 record to close out their ninth straight non-playoff campaign. They've got the majors' longest active streak of losing records, and their playoff drought is matched by Detroit for the majors' longest.
Los Angeles was 56-51 at the trade deadline and made several acquisitions in a bid to contend, but flopped immediately after the deadline with a seven-game skid, eventually going 17-38 in the season's final two months while losing Ohtani, Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon and Taylor Ward for the year to injury.
"I know it didn't go the way we wanted, but I'm proud of the way that room held together," said manager Phil Nevin, who hasn't been told whether he'll be back. "It wasn't fun. It's not fun ending the way we did, but it's a great group in there. There's a lot of great things that are on the horizon here with the young players and the guys coming back. Good future."
The Angels didn't schedule an end-of-the-season news conference with general manager Perry Minasian, whose future also seems to be in question after three unsuccessful years in charge.
Randal Grichuk also homered for the Halos, and Eduardo Escobar had two hits. The Angels saved the ball for Escobar after his RBI single in the fifth, but the 34-year-old infielder said after the game that it was an inside joke between teammates, and he has no plans to retire.
Oakland finished its funereal season at 50-112 after going 60-102 last year, posting the franchise's worst record since the 1916 Philadelphia A's went 36-117. With reviled owner John Fisher's Vegas relocation dreams hanging over the Coliseum, the A's have endured their first back-to-back 100-loss seasons in Oakland and the franchise's first since 1964-65 in Kansas City.
Not everything was bleak for Oakland: Brent Rooker hit his career-best 30th homer and also doubled and singled, while Esteury Ruiz stole his 67th base in the third inning, breaking the AL single-season record for a rookie set by Kenny Lofton in 1992.
"It was a goal for (Ruiz)," A's manager Mark Kotsay said. "I know how hard he's worked. He's relentless in his preparation. He studies pitchers, and he's great at picking up tendencies. ... And it's great for Rook. I actually had a pretty big reaction for the kid. I think it's because I know where he's come from. He was the 26th man on the team out of spring training, so I reacted a little bit more emotional probably than I should have but ... I know what it means to him."
Carson Fulmer (1-1) yielded two hits and three walks over five scoreless innings for the Angels in his first major league start since Sept. 24, 2019. The former eighth overall pick by the White Sox was out of the majors last year, but joined the Angels' system in May and got called up last week.
"It means the world to me," Fulmer said. "I was on the couch three months ago debating on whether I was going to play again or not. This is big for me, for my family. ... It was one of those games that could make or break my career."
JP Sears (5-14) yielded four hits and three runs over four innings for the A's.
Grichuk homered in the third inning of possibly his final game with the Halos, who drafted him right before Mike Trout in 2009, but traded him in late 2013 and finally reacquired him this season.
Drury connected in the first inning for the 25th homer of his solid debut season with the Angels. He doubled in the fourth and scored on Jo Adell's single, and he hit a two-run shot for his 26th homer in the fifth.
The Angels had 26,539 fans at the season finale, finishing with 2,640,575 at the Big A this season. That's more than last season's 2,457,461, but fewer than every other season of full-capacity crowds in Anaheim since 2002, when the franchise's only World Series championship led to 17 consecutive seasons of at least 3 million fans.
Athletics: Host the Colorado Rockies in their spring training opener Feb. 24.
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