Oakland’s Chris Smith pitches well, gets no run support as A’s lose to Jays 4-2

July 24, 2017

MLB, Oakland Athletics

Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Chris Smith throws to Toronto Blue Jays’ Russell Martin hits for a home run during first-inning baseball game action in Toronto, Monday, July 24, 2017. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP)

by Jerry Feitelberg

Toronto- The A’s continued their seven-game road trip Monday night in Toronto against the Blue Jays. The A’s, who have not been very good on the road this year, lost to the Jays by a score of 4-2.  The A’s have lost three of the four games played so far on the trip. The A’s starter, Chris Smith, pitched well as he went six innings and allowed three runs and six hits.  Smith was looking for his first win since June 24th, 2008 when he was a member of the Boston Red Sox. The A’s offense, on the other hand, was held to just two hits. Francisco Liriano, pitching on three days rest, baffled the A’s as he went five innings and was touched for a single and a home run. Liriano retired twelve hitters in a row after giving up a run in the first inning. Matt Chapman broke the spell with a home run in the top of the fifth.

The A’s scored a run in the first inning. Liriano walked Rajai Davis and Marcus Semien to put men on at first and second with no out. Jays’ catcher Russell Martin threw out Davis at third base as the A’s attempted a double steal. Former A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson blocked the bag with his knee and Davis, sliding in head first, was easily tagged out. A’s DH, Ryon Healy, singled sharply to left field and the left fielder, Steve Pearce, misplayed the ball for an error. Semien scored on the play. Liriano settled down and went on to retire the next twelve hitters in a row.

The Jays tied the game when Russell Martin blasted his tenth round tripper of the year into the seats in left field in the Jays half of the first inning.

The Blue Jays scored twice in the fourth. Josh Donaldson led off the frame with a double to left-center field. Smith walked the next two hitters Justin Smoak and Tro Tulowitzki. With one out, Ezekiel Carrera singled sharply to center driving in Donaldson. The bases were still loaded. Smith got Kevin Pillar to hit a popup for the second out. Second baseman Ryan Goins singled to drive in Smoak with the Jays third run of the game, and the bases were loaded once more. Smith then retired Joey Bautista 1-3 to end the inning.

In the top of the fifth, with one out, A’s rookie third baseman, Matt Chapman sent and 86 miles per hour changeup way into the stratosphere at the Rogers Centre. It was Chapman’s fifth of the year. Liriano retired the next two hitters and was done for the night. The Jays scored their fourth run of the game in the seventh. Bob Melvin brought in John Axford to pitch. Axford, who has been inconsistent all season, walked Bautista, gave up a single to Martin, and walked Donaldson to load the bases. Melvin yanked him and replaced him with Josh Smith. Smith forced in a run when he walked Smoak. Smith settled down and struck out Pearce and got Tulowitzki to hit into a 5-4=3 double play. Chapman made the fielding play of the game as he dove to stop the ball, got up and spun around as he threw, on one knee, to Jed Lowrie at second. Lowrie made the turn and threw the ball to Alonso at first to complete the double play.

The A’s did not score after the fifth and lost to Toronto 4-2.

Game Notes- Both teams entered the game with a record of 44-54. The A’s are now 44-55, and Toronto improves to 45-54.

The A’s announced that they recalled Josh Smith earlier in the day from Nashville and to make room for him, they sent Matt Olson back to the Triple-A Sounders. Olson has done the NAshville shuffle five times this year.

Chris Smith took the loss for Oakland and is now 0-1 for the year. Liriano improves to 6-5. The Blue Jays bullpen of Joe Biagini, Ryan Tepera, and Roberto Ozuna did not allow a hit in the last four innings of the game. The 22-year old Ozuna, who is from Mexico, recorded his twenty-fifth save of the season.

The hitting starts for Toronto were Ezekiel Carrera, Ryan Goins, and Russell Martin.

After the game, Bob Melvin had this to say about John Axford’s poor outing:” Every now and then he has a good outing. The walks have been killing him. He has a history of throwing the ball over the plate but is having trouble doing that now.”

Game Two of the four-game set will start at 4:05 pm Tuesday night in Toronto. Sonny Gray, who has pitched well his last six outings, will pitch for Oakland. Toronto will counter with Cesar Valdez. Valdez will be making his first start ever for the Blue Jays. He has been used as a reliever for all of the season up until now.

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About rxslugger

Retired pharmacist who now has a career as a sports writer and broadcaster

View all posts by rxslugger

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