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Game #99: A’s Succumb to Jays, 4-2

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Oakland Athletics v Toronto Blue Jays
TORONTO, ON - JULY 24: Matt Chapman #26 of the Oakland Athletics is congratulated by teammates after hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on July 24, 2017 in Toronto, Canada.
Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Entering into this four-game series in Toronto, there were a lot of parts of this game that one could appreciate. While the A’s incurred the loss, it is a game that can leave fans hopeful for the next three Canadian matchups.

*** Click here to revisit tonight’s Game Thread! ***

Let’s start with Matt Chapman. First, his homerun bears noting. This kid is beginning to light things up! Long-ball #3 in three games!

Yes, Chapman has a .211 batting average but we should note his cumulative extra base hits. In 20 games and 68 at-bats, Chapman notched his fifth home-run tonight as he batted 7th in the lineup; on a 1-0 count in the 5th, he took the next 92 mph, four-seam fastball for the second and last notched run for the Athletics. This adds to his 5 doubles, 1 triple and 9 RBI’s on the season. He’s just beginning and he is on fire; it would be nice to give him an additional at-bat by moving him up in the lineup.

Matt Chapman should also be praised for his defensive strength in the 7th inning where he saved the day with an an excellent double play that ended the bases-loaded, one-out threat.

In addition to Chapman’s excellent defensive play, there were others that should also leave fans feeling excited. Khris Davis, not known for his excellent arm, sure did nail it in the second inning by gloving a difficult grab an saving runs thereby robbing Josh Donaldson of extra base hits.

Chris Smith did not get his first major league win tonight and, unfortunately, he received his first loss of the season. This 36 year-old had a solid outing. Smith allowed three runs on six hits and three walks with a pair of strikeouts. The 36-year-old Smith was making the third start of his career and his 66th overall appearance. So, Chris Smith’s 6 innings looked solid. Grant you, in the bottom of the first he gave up a full-count homerun to veteran Russell Martin, his 10th of the season, but he was solid throughout the rest of his six innings.

Now, what didn’t go well? Well, the first inning. Rajai Davis and Marcus Semien walked to give high hopes for a quick blood letting. Unfortunately, Rajai was caught stealing with a perfect shot by catcher Russell Martin to third baseman Josh Donaldson. This was extra unfortunate as Ryon Healy hit a line drive to left fielder Steve Pearce in which he advanced to second on Pearce’s error and Semien scored, counted as Healy’s 56th RBI of the season. Unfortunately, the A’s went up 1-0 instead of 2-0.

In the fourth inning the Jays scored their first run. Josh Donaldson doubled followed by a walk to Justin Smoak. Steve Pearce flew out to Rajai Davis but then Troy Tulowitzki walked to load the bases. This was then followed by an Ezequiel Carrera RBI shot to center field to score Donaldson. After Kevin Pillar popped out on the infield, Ryan Goins picked up an RBI with a shot to Rajai Davis that scored Smoak. Luckily Jose Bautista grounded softly to Chris Smith to end the inning. Jays 3, Athletics 1.

The only other run for the Blue Jays was on John Axford’s relief appearance. Replacing Smith with bases loaded, Axford walked Justin Smoak to score Jose Bautista.

Final Score, Jays 4 and Athletics 2 with the winning pitcher Francisco Liriano and the losing pitcher Chris Smith. Osuna picked up the save.