OAKLAND – The A’s played in front of their biggest crowd tonight, they hosted the Toronto Blue Jays in a three-game series. Matt Chapman’s return to Oakland was spoiled by a pair of home runs by both Ramon Laureano and Stephen Vogt in the fifth and sixth frames to give the A’s a 5-1 victory over the Blue Jays.
Alek Manoah last only 5.2 innings, he gave up six hits, 5 runs, walked two and gave up two home runs. Cole Irvin did a great job keeping Toronto off the board while only allowing one run. Alejandro Kirk’s RBI single came in fourth frame, but Oakland’s defense kept the Blue Jays off the score board since that play.
Irvin got his first win since April 24th. He pitched a phenomenal game to take a 1-0 lead for the series. Irvin’s success was simply because he did not walk one batter. Irvin did great job mixing up his pitches and changing up his speed. He went 8 frames, allowed four hits, one run and struck out 4 for an ERA 3.35.
“Our offense came out aggressive,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “That double by Elvis [Andrus] really got things going, we continued to put up some at-bats and added on runs. That’s something we haven’t been able to do. We gave Cole a little bit of room and he pitched a great game.”
Oakland’s 3-0 lead came behind Vogt’s RBI in the first, followed by Andrus’ two-run double. Laureano’s solo blast in the 5th extended their lead 4-1. Then Vogt’s first home run since returning to the A’s was the final run of the night.
“I felt like I pitched really well,”said Irvin. “I figured out some things with my delivery and just riding out some good things I created over the last couple of starts. We’re just creating positive energy and having fun!”
Chapman goes back down memory lane with old team
OAKLAND – Matt Chapman returned to the Coliseum for the first time since his trade to the Toronto Blue Jays back in March. Chapman was part of an All-Star lineup that was dismantled right after the lockout. After Bob Melvin left the organization to manage the San Diego Padres, the Oakland A’s traded away some of their best players.
Along with Chapman, Matt Olson, Sean Manaea and Chris Bassitt were sent packing to new teams. Tonight, the A’s host the Blue Jays to kick-off their six-game homestand. Chapman who was a hometown favorite, comes back to a place that was his only home in the Major Leagues. He hopes tonight’s game draws a big crowd playing against his former team.
“This was a great place to start my career,” Chapman said. “I learned how to compete, focus on the right things because it’s not always about winning games. You learn how to get yourself prepared, not complain and not sweat the small stuff. That made me appreciate where I’m at so much more now, because it’s a different environment here in Toronto.”
Chapman doesn’t have to go into detail about the resources provided by his new team. The Athletics have played in the same stadium/ballpark for the past 54 years. The Coliseum hasn’t seen a new facelift in over a decade. It’s no secret the Coliseum is considered one of the worst ballparks in MLB. But when you learn to play the game you love versus all the bells and whistles, it means just a little bit more.
“It’s weird being on the other side,” explained Chapman. “I’ve spent a lot of great times here, I saw coaches, teammates and all the guys who work over there, so it’s emotional. I’m happy to see everybody and excited to play a series here. I think it’s gonna be a lot of fun emotionally, this is only place I’ve ever played.”
Chapman was drafted by the A’s in 2014 and made his major league debut on June 15, 2017. He batted .210/.314/.403 with 27 home runs and 72 RBIs in 151 games. He became the first Athletic to ever strike out 200 times in a season and had the lowest line drive percentage of any major leaguer, at 14.6%. Chapman accepted his 2021 Gold Glove Award when the Blue Jays hosted Oakland back in Toronto on April 16. 2022.
Chapman was asked about his favorite memories while playing with the A’s.
“It probably has to be the wild card game,” Chapman said. “We got to host the Wild Card game, we were all excited for that, unfortunately we didn’t get to come out on top but I think you know just the moments like that. The wins and the playoffs, to play with a bunch of guys, we were always counted out but we always found ourselves in the think of it at the end of the season.”
Mark Kotsay whose in his first season as Oakland’s manager has found memories of Chapman aka “Chappy”.
“I was a Quality Control Coach and I think I was it was either 2018 or 2019,” said Kotsay. “I was here for a homestand and in the video room, watching the first inning. Pop-up foul territory opens on the hat drops. Next inning, pop-up foul territory, drops it. No sooner than I look up, Billy Bean is right in my face, asking me if I was a coach and whether or not I was gonna go down there and give Chappy a pair of sun glasses. That’s my best memory of Matt Chapman at the Coliseum.
Chappy was running up in the locker room and Billy was ready to talk to him about wearing his glasses and it was awesome! It was a good day.”