The Oakland A’s got another great performance from a starting pitcher, and this time they turned it into a victory, thanks to some well-timed fireworks from their lineup.
The A’s defeated the Toronto Blue Jays by a 5-1 score on Monday, earning a win on July 4 at the Coliseum.
Left-hander Cole Irvin was brilliant for eight innings, allowing just one run on four hits in his best performance of the season so far. Oakland didn’t let that gem go to waste, striking right away for three runs in the 1st inning and then adding a couple solo homers later for insurance.
The A’s first run and final run were knocked in by Stephen Vogt, on a sac fly in the 1st inning and a dinger in the 6th. Elvis Andrus also drove in a pair with a double, and Ramon Laureano went deep.
Oakland set the tone immediately and never let up. In the top of the 1st inning, Irvin retired three All-Star hitters in order. In the bottom half, his teammates put together a rally.
A walk, single, and HBP loaded the bases, and a pair of veterans came through with productive at-bats. Vogt hasn’t hit much this year, but with a runner on third and one out, all he needed to do was make contact in the air — and he did just that, with a routine fly to earn an RBI. A better throw from the outfielder might have prevented the run, but the A’s forced the Jays to make a play and the Jays couldn’t do it.
Next up was Andrus, who smoked a grounder down the third base line and into the left field corner for a two-run double. As an extra bonus, he hit it past none other than Platinum Glover Matt Chapman at the hot corner, a truly impressive feat.
Just like that they led 3-0, and it turned out that was all the offense they’d need. Often lately we’ve seen Oakland’s bats score early and then go silent while the opponent catches up, but tonight was the opposite — the other team never mounted a comeback, and the A’s kept adding runs.
On the pitching side, Irvin didn’t allow a hit until the 4th inning. He retired the first 11 batters he faced before Vlad Guerrero Jr finally cracked a double, and the Jays were able to drive him home from there for their only run of the evening. But in the 5th inning Irvin began a new string of 10 straight batters retired, until one harmless single en route to breezing through the end of the 8th.
- Irvin: 8 ip, 1 run, 4 Ks, 0 BB, 4 hits, 95 pitches
The southpaw allowed his share of hard contact, but most of it was able to find gloves for loud outs, and none of it made it over the wall for dingers. Even better, he did not give any free help via walks, keeping the bases empty and his pitch count efficient. Manager Mark Kotsay praised Irvin’s pinpoint location of his pitches.
Cole Irvin worked so fast that fans will have to wait until 9pm for fireworks to start.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) July 5, 2022
The pyrotechnics would have to wait until nightfall, but Oakland’s lineup kept the show going in the meantime with some fireworks of their own. In the 5th inning, Laureano launched a 417-foot homer.
In the 6th, Vogt saw that blast and raised it, with a 426-foot long ball.
By the time the 9th inning rolled around, the A’s led 5-1. Irvin wanted to finish the game but he respected Kotsay’s decision to call to the bullpen, and reliever Zach Jackson got the final three outs to seal the victory.
Perhaps best of all is that Oakland won this game in front of their biggest home crowd of the season, with 24,403 fans in attendance. Vogt noticed the support and offered these words of appreciation, via insider Martin Gallegos:
“There was a lot of memories of the good times. There’s no better place to play Major League Baseball than the Coliseum packed with fans. Clearly, we fed off it. The fans were great. It was a lot of fun to see A’s fans packing out the Coliseum and it was loud.”
Irvin shared a similar sentiment, via Matt Kawahara of the S.F. Chronicle:
“They were absolutely amazing. Electric environment. They were with every pitch. ... I was riding off the fans a lot.”
What better way to celebrate the USA’s birthday than watching our team win a baseball game, reminding ourselves of the power of the Vogt, and enjoying an old hit by Elvis?