By Morris Phillips
The A’s weren’t going to be satisfied with a .500 road trip to start the season. But after a grueling 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays, that’s what they got.
Finishing a senses-jarring, first ten games of the season with a 5-5 record isn’t earth shattering, but it’s an incredible, initial statement for the new-look A’s.
“I couldn’t be happier with the club’s energy, effort level and fight through these 10 days,” manager Mark Kotsay said. “The record may not reflect, right now, how well I feel we played on this road trip.”
Alex Manoah went six innings against Oakland, and picked up the win. The replacement guy for Toronto limited the A’s to four hits and two walks, and departed with a two-run lead. Manoah appearances have a winning effect on his club, the Blue Jays have won his last 10 starts.
“I want those guys to know that I’m giving it my all every time,” Manoah said. “I think they kind of play off that energy.”
The A’s trailed 3-0 and 4-2, but got a sacrifice fly from Seth Brown in the eighth to climb within 4-3, but they could get any closer in the ninth, making for a lengthier flight home ahead of Monday’s home opener against the Orioles at 6:40pm.
Lourdes Gurriel led the hosts with a double, single and sacrifice fly to boost a lineup that saw Vladimir Guerrero Jr. go 0 for 4.
“It’s pretty big that he gets hot,” manager Charlie Montoyo said of Gurriel. “It’s been amazing what he’s doing right now.
“Right now, he’s doing the job to make sure Vladdy sees some pitches.”
Adam Oller was lifted in the second inning in his Major League debut last Tuesday. He responded on Sunday, allowing three runs and five hits before being lifted by Kotsay in the fourth.
The 27-year old cited lack of command with breaking pitches, but acknowledged his growth as well, this time he kept the A’s attached.
Stephen Vogt hit his first home run of the season and Sean Murphy’s sacrifice fly to center field scored Cristian Pache from third base for two A’s runs.
“They were down early. We fought back. We grinded out at-bats,” Kotsay continued. “The energy was still really good for the end of a 10-day road trip. You’d look for that day off tomorrow, but I think the energy will be there tomorrow with opening day and going home.”