A’s pitching exasperated by the Toronto Blue Jays

OAKLAND – Marcus Semien knew how to close out the series.  Facing his former team, he left it all on the field as a reminder to what he meant to the Oakland A’s.  Semien’s four-hit outing was a masterpiece to lead off a lineup of fierce hitters.

“Four-hit game is pretty good,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.  “I mean… hit a home run, he’s a good hitter, like a lot of guys in heir lineup.  So you feel like you might get a little break at the bottom of the lineup but 1- 7, they pound the ball pretty good. 

You better be locating pretty well and making some good pitches.  For the first two games, we were pretty good at that up until the end of [Wednesday’s] game.  Today, they broke through us.”

The Toronto Blue Jays showed no mercy in their 10-4 victory over Oakland.  They dismantled the A’s pitching in its entirety.  Mike Fiers lasted only 3.1 innings today, his shortest regular season start over the last two years.  Fiers allowed five runs on nine hits and that included a grand slam from Randal Grichuk.

“I definitely wasn’t at my best but that’s not an excuse,” said Fiers.  “They put pressure on me, they were swinging the bats and made it really tough on me.  Obviously the three-run homer that Grichuk hurt, he made me pay.  I missed over the plate and he didn’t miss it.”

Fiers got himself into a jam in the first but came out unscathed.  That wasn’t the case in the third frame, Semien led off the inning with a single and Bo Bichette was issued a free pass.  While Vladimir Guerrero Jr. struck out swinging, Bichette ventured off first base for the out resulting in a double play (strikeout and pickoff 2-3).  

After a short sigh of relief, Fiers walked Teoscar Hernandez to load the bases.  Grichuk hit a grand slam and put the Blue Jays ahead 4-1.  Oakland responded with three runs bottom of the frame.  Hyun Jin Ryu gave up a single to Tony Kemp and issued a free pass to Ramon Laureano.  Matt Olson’s ground rule double drove in both Kemp and Laureano to make it a 4-3 game.  

But Toronto wouldn’t go away.  Top of the fourth Jonathan Davis led off with a single and Danny Jansen hit his first home run of the season to put the Blue Jays back in the lead 5-4.  After a base hit by Bichette, Oakland’s manager Bob Melvin decided that Fiers time on the mound was done.

“They made it tough on me,” explained Fiers.  “They were very aggressive.  I was just giving them too good of pitches early on and not expanding when I got two strikes.  That lineup is really good.  When you pitch like that and don’t stick to the game plan, you’re going to get hurt.”

By the sixth Toronto’s bats exploded, they added four runs thanks to a few errors by the A’s.  Semien and Bichette both hit back-to-back singles.  Guerrero hit into a fielder’s choice, a throwing error by pitcher Deolis Guerra advanced Semien to third and Bichette to second.  Sergio Romo quickly replaced Guerra after that mistake.

But Romo gave up an RBI single to Hernandez who scored in both Semien and Bichette to give the Blue Jays a 7-4 lead.  Grichuk’s two-run double RBI drove in both Guerrero and Hernandez and Grichuk advanced to third on throwing error by Kemp.  And to make matters worse Semien went deep to left field to record his seventh home run and put Toronto up 10-4 in the seventh inning.  

Semien matched his career high with four hits (eighth time, previous: Sept 5, 2019 vs LAA).  He’s hit safely in all four games in his return to Oakland and went 7-for-17 (.412) and has now hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games and is 18-for-49 (.367) with three home runs and nine RBIs over that span.  Semien spent six seasons with the A’s before signing with Toronto in January.  

The Blue Jays collected a season-high 16 hits and have now won two straight, five of the last 7 of the last 13 games.  Oakland is now 3-7 in games decided by five or more runs compared to 16-7 in games decided by four runs or fewer.  Mark Canha homered to lead off the bottom of the first for the first lead-off home run of his career and the first lead-off home run by an Athletic this year.

“He [Marcus Semien] knows our pitchers,” Sean Murphy said.  “It’s sort of a chess match with a guy like that.  We tried to keep him guessing, but he obviously had a very good day.”

The A’s will host the Tampa Bay Rays tomorrow night for a three-game series with the first pitch at 6:40pm.

Photo by A’s/Kavin Mistry

Oakland A’s to Celebrate Nurses During Nurses Appreciation Week Fans can nominate nurses to receive a special gift package and recognition from the A’s
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland A’s will celebrate Bay Area nurses who respond to the call of action by lending a helping hand and demonstrating courage, strength, and self-sacrifice during Nurses Appreciation Week, presented by Kaiser Permanente, from May 10 to 14. 

Each day during Nurses Appreciation Week, the A’s will select a Bay Area nurse to receive a special gift package, including two tickets to the A’s game on May 18, and recognition on the A’s social channels. Fans can self-nominate or nominate a nurse in the Bay Area who they believe deserves recognition for their hard work. Nominations can be submitted at athletics.com/nurse through Saturday, May 8. 

The A’s will also host Nurses Appreciation Night at the Coliseum on Tuesday, May 18, when the team hosts the Houston Astros at 6:40 p.m.

Fans can submit a nomination for Nurses Appreciation Week recognition at athletics.com/nurse through Saturday, May 8. 
Contact: Erica George, 510-746-4419 egeorge@athletics.com 

Malaika Bobino

Malaika Bobino, an Oakland, California native, is a Bay Area sports journalism powerhouse and influencer. With nearly two decades of experience at both the Oakland Post and the Huffington Post, she is always on the front lines of the iconic Bay Area sports scene. Bobino covered the Oakland A’s postseason trips, all three of the San Francisco Giants World Series, was present for all three Golden State Warriors three NBA Championships and covered the 49ers last two Super Bowl appearances

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