Oakland A’s catcher Stephen Vogt forearm bashes with teammate Elvis Andrus at the Oakland Coliseum after Vogt’s home run on Mon Jul 4, 2022 against the Toronto Blue Jays (AP News photo)
Toronto (44-37). 1. 5. 1
Oakland (27-55). 5. 7. 0
Monday, July 4, 2022
By Lewis Rubman
OAKLAND-Baseball players and fans are used to losing. I don’t know if, as a rule, they get over it, but they do get used to it. A’s fans and players have had a lot to get used to recently.
Sunday’s second consecutive 2-1 loss at Seattle, combined with the loss to injury of Frankie Montás, whose imminent trade deadline departure is widely anticipated, raises the dosage of resignation that the uncertainty of the A’s future home and the misery of the A’s current performance to new highs.
So far, Montás hasn’t been removed from the active roster, but his absence is as notable as the green and gold’s lack of success. They came into the game at 26-55 at the season’s halfway mark, 11-35 since May 14.
But Oakland and its fans didn’t have to deal with a loss this evening.
Monday’s game recap: Behind the stellar hurling of their starter, Cole Irvin, they dominated Toronto, 5-1.
Irvin took a 2-6, 3.58 record with him to the pitching rubber when he threw the opening pitch at 6:08 in a warm, sunny evening, perfect home run weather at the Coliseum. Since his return from the injured list, Irvin had gone 0-5, 3.97 in eight starts, most recently in a 5-3 loss to the Yankees in Bronx, where he gave up all five runs, and they were earned, on six hits, two of which left the ball park.
Today, the A’s staked a three run first inning, Irvin was in control for the eight full innings he pitched. He allowed but a single run, earned, on four hits and no walks. His work was very efficient; he threw only 95 pitches, of which only 28 were balls. He got the win, which made his won-lost record 3-5 and lowered his ERA to 3.35.
The Blue Jays sent right hander Alex Manoah and his 9-2, 2.09 record against the floundering residents (for now) of the east bay. His opposing batters average was, appropriately enough, also .209. The 24 year old, now in his second big league season, allowed two runs, both earned, on four hits while going six innings, to gain the win in Toronto’s 4-2 victory.
He had an eight start winning streak from September 23, 2021 through April 28 of this year. He didn’t live up to his advance billings tonight. He left with the Jays trailing the A’s 5-1 after throwing 101 pitches, of which 67 were counted as strikes, in only 5-2/3 frames.
Four of the five runs he allowed were earned, and they came on six hits, two of them for all the distance, two walks, a wild pitch, and a hit batter. He struck out five. He was the losing pitcher and ended the day with a record of 9-3, 2.33.
Oakland put a crooked number on the board in their first turn at the plate. Ramón Laureano walked with one out and advanced to second on Seth Brown’s single to right. Manoah plunked Sean Murphy with a 92 mph sinker to load the bases.
Sentimental favorite Stephen Vogt brought Laureano home with a sacrifice fly to center, and George Springer’s wildly off line throw allowed the two other runs to move up a base each. Elvis Andrus’s two bagger to left brought them home.
There was another sentimental favorite on the field tonight. Matt Chapman was playing third for the Blue Jays, and the former Athletic platinum glove winner got a warm ovation when he came to the plate in the visitors’ half of the third for his first AB. (He fouled out to the catcher).
Irvin kept the Blue Jays off the basepaths for the first 3-2/3 inning. Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. ended that string of out with a resounding double just over Skye Bolt’s head in center on a 92 mph four seamer.
Alejandro Kirk drove Guerrero in with a single to right, but Vimael Machín’s magnificent diving grab of Lourdes Gourriel, Jr.’s drive down the left field line and fast, accurate throw to first saved Irvin’s bacon and kept Oakland ahead, 3-1.
They tacked on another tally with one down in the fifth when Laureano blasted Manoah’s first pitch, a change of pace, 417 feet deep into the left field seats for his fifth home run and 14th RBI of the year.
The A’s further stretched their lead with Vogt’s fourth round tripper of the season and second run batted in of the evening. It came as he led off the home sixth and was a no doubter, hit 426 feet deep into straightaway centerfield.
The veteran still can get around on a 91 mph four seamer. Three batters later, Bolt singled to third on Manoah´s 101st delivery, and that was it was the Blue Jays starter.
Sergio Romo, the one time Giant, one time A, relieved him, retired Allen, and was replaced by Anthony Banda for the home seventh, and Jordan Romano for the eighth. The three of them kept the A’s off the board.
Irvin shotdown ten Jays in a row between Kirk’s single that followed Guerrero’s double and Espinal’s one out single in the bottom of the eighth, Toronto’s fourth hit. Espinal was left stranded at first.
Zach Jackson came in to pitch the top of the ninth for Oakland. Bo Bichette hit a resounding leadoff double to center and moved on to third on Guerrero’s fly out to deep right, Kirk’s fly to shallow right, just inside the foul line made it two down. Jackson got two quick strikes on Teoscar Hernández.
Then a ball. And a second ball. Hernández then hit a weak grounder to the ground. Jackson grabbed and ran to first for the final out. The Curse of the Leadoff Double strikes again!
The A’s will go for a two game winning streak tomorrow at 6:30 pm PDT. Toronto will send southpaw Yusei Kikuchi (3-4, 4.74) against Oakland’s righty Adrián Martínez (1-1, 6,30)