Semien haunts old club with 4 hits and 3 runs scored; Jays clobber A’s 10-4

The Toronto Blue Jays Marucs Semien had himself an afternoon against his former teammates the Oakland A’s at the Oakland Coliseum on Thu May 6, 2021 (@Blue Jays photo)

Toronto 10 – 16 – 1

Oakland 4 – 6. – 2

By Lewis Rubman

May 6, 2021

OAKLAND–This pitching match up of this afternoon’s contest between the 15-14 Toronto Blue Jays and 19-13 Athletics pitted two veteran starting pitchers recently returned from the Injured List. Going for the visitors was Hyun Jin Ryu, reinstated just yesterday (?), who had compiled an impressive April earned run average of 2.60 in his 27-2/3 innings of work over five starts.

Never mind that his won-lost record was 1-2; his WHIP was a measly 1.06. His resumé includes seven years of stardom with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Association, where he won 59 regular season games. That doesn’t seem so impressive until you realize that only Chan Ho Park, who won 124, had more games in his W column. Ryu, like Park, went on to pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers Ryu seems to have a case of the seven year itch, since that’s the amount of time he stayed with the Dodgers (if you count 2015, a season he missed due to injury).

He signed with Toronto in December of 2019, in time to turn in a 5-2, 2.60 COVID shortened season mark. He finished third in the Cy Young balloting and had the third highest WAR of all players in the majors. Among pitchers, only Shane Bieber, at 3.2, did better.

This was only the second appearance of the season for the A’s Mike Fiers since coming off the Injured List on April 26., He was adequate in his first start, a week ago yesterday, giving up three runs and six hits over six innings in a losing effort against Baltimore’s Jim Means,who went on to throw a no-hitter a couple of days ago.

Fiers has tossed two of those himself, most recently on May 2, 2019 against Cincinnati. There was no question of Fiers throwing a no-hitter today; Marcus Semien and Bo Bichette opened the game with back to back singles. But Fiers recovered and retilred Vladmir Guerrero, Jr., Teoscar Hernández, and Randal Grichuk, the last on a three pitch strike out.

The Athletics started off with a bigger bang than Toronto’s. Mark Canha launched Ryu’s second offering, an 88 mph four seamer, into the left field seats for his fifth home run of the year and first lead off four bager of his career. Then Ryu set down Ramón Laueano, Matt Olson, and Sean Murphy in order.

Fiers got two quick strikes on Semien, leading off the third. But the A’s alumnus worked the count full before pulling a double down the left field line, just beyond the reach of a diving Matt Chapman. Bichette followed with a 3-2 walk, bringing Junior Guerrero to the plate.

With lthe count at 2-2, Fiers struck him out swinging, and Murphy picked Bichette off at first for an unusual double play. Toronto appealled the call at first, but a video review quickly confirmed it. Fiers seemed to have escaped the worst, but he hadn’t. Hernández walked, and Grichuk whalloped a blast that left his bat at 110 mph and landed 412 feet away, in center field, putting the Jays up, 3-1.

Oakland got a run back in the third on a one out single to right center by Tony Kemp, who advanced to second on Canha’s ground out to short, followed by a walk to Laureano and Olson’s automatic double that hopped over the low right field fence on one bounce. The A’s went ahead when the next batter, Sean Murphy, lined a double to left that brought both of them home. When Chapman struck looking to end the inning, the green and gold was back on top, 4-3.

That didn’t last long Jonathan Davis singled to open the fourth. Then Danny Jensen, htting all of .072 blasted an authorative home run to left. A fly out and an infield single leater, Fiers was gone, and Deolis Guerra was pitching for the home team. The A’s bullpen, tested and found wanting last night, was called on once more. Bichette stole second and third on Guerra, and Hernández, whom he walked, stole second, but the A’s reliever got through the frame without allowing another run.

Fiers’ line for the afternoon was five runs, all earned, one nine hits and two walks. He struck out two, and 43 of his 69 pitches were strikes. He allowed two home runs. Oh, those warm dry afternoons in the Coliseum! He eventually was charged with the loss.

There was a glimmer of hope for the A’s with two out in the bottom of the fifth. Laureano fisted a line drive single to right that got past Hernández, allowing Oakland’s fleet footed center fielder to motor to thirid. But Olson went down swinging on a change up to end the mini threat.

Things got hairy for Guerra in the sixth. With one down, Semien’s fly ball landed in front of Piscotty in right. Bichette followed with a line drive single to left that eluded Andrus’s glove. Junior Guerrero hit sharply to the mound. Guerra fielded the ball, turned, and threw low and outside to second.

The error loaded the bases. It also ended Guerra’s agony. Romo came in. Hernández’s single to center scored Bichette and Semien. Guerrero stopped at second. Grichuk then hit a double to deep right center that Laureano mishandled and which brought Guerrero home with Grichuk ending up at third when Kemp threw wildely on his relay to that base.

Guerra gave up three runs, two of them earned, in two innings of hard labor. He allowed two htis and a walk, threw 32 pitches, 23 for strikes. Romo faced four batters in his 2/3 of an inning. Two of them got hits, and he was charged with one run, which was earned.

Travis Bergen relieved Ryu for the Oakland sixth. Toronto’s starter pitched five innings to qualify tor the win. The four runs he allowed were earned. He gave up six hits and a walk, strikng out six. His pitch to strikes ratio was 91-58. Bergen threw two hitless innings, allowing a walk.

Reymin Guduan pitched the seventh for Oakland and surrendered the Blue Jays their tenth run on a 386 foot homer to left by Semien, who was cheered loudly by a good portion of 3,611 fans in attendance. He stayed on until Adam Kolarek assumed the unpleasant task of facing the surging Blue Jays for the final frame. In spite of singles to the first two hitters he faced, he got out of the inning unscathed.

The forelorn A’s fruitlessy faced Joel Payamps in the eighth, and he hung around to finish the job in the ninth.

24 hours before the final out was recorded at 3:48, it looked as if the A’s might sweep this four game series against the Jays. They ended up with a split.

The Jekyll and Hyde A’s take on the Tampa Bay Rays in a three game series starting at 6:40 tomorrow evening. Sean Manaea (3-1,3.48) is scheduled to face Rich Hill.

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