The legend of Swirvin Irvin continues to grow.
Oakland A’s beat the Toronto Blue Jays for the second straight game on Tuesday, this time with the score 4-1, and the story begins and ends with pitching. Cole Irvin put together A’s longest start of the year and arguably the best so far with an eight-inning gem to lead his club to victory.
*** Click here to watch tonight’s game thread again! ***
The left-leaning Irvin got the team out of spring training when an injury opened a rotation spot, and in his first two excursions of the season, he was beaten around by the Houston Astros. But since then he has been on the roll and only allowed four total runs during his last four starts combined including tonight.
The big difference in this game comes in the underlying measurements. In Irvin̵
Through the first five innings, the Jays reached base once against Irvin, on a single, and even that was immediately erased by a double play. In the sixth, they teamed up a single and a double to score a race. In the 7th they went, but stranded the runner. Thats it.
- Irvin: 8 ip, 1 run, 9 Ks, 1 BB, 3 hits, 102 pitches, 84.8 mph EV
Toronto only hit the ball hard against him four times. Two went for the hits they deserved, one was a sharp lineout tracked off Ramon Laureano, and the other was a grounding that did not find a hole. Meanwhile, he hit a third of the blows he faced with a mix of missing bats and also painted the corners and got calls. He only went to a three-ball count four times, including one walk.
There is no warning or star or “but actually” here. This was a gem of Swirvin Irvin, in every way, easily the best we’ve seen from him, and in the discussion for the best we’ve seen from any Ace starting this year.
It also put a number of career-best for Irvin, including but not limited to innings and strikeouts, and another member of the pitch staff also had a standout day.
With a three-run lead in the 9th, the A’s gave their double-headed closer tandem after both had thrown last night. Instead, Yusmeiro Small came in to lock the last frame down, retired to pick up his first rescue since 2017. At the time, he was on the Angels, making this his first rescue as a member of the A’s, in his 196th appearance in the green. and gold.
The one race to Toronto tonight was delivered by Marcus Semien, in the second game of his homecoming series after leaving Oakland in free agency last winter. The semi hit RBI twice in the sixth that got the Jays on the board, so even though the pitching was short-lived, it was still a nice moment in its own way.
A 4-1 A win where the opponent’s only RBI was at our beloved hometown shortstop? Perfection.
Oakland’s lineup continued to roll, at least enough to support a dominant pitcher. They made all their scores early in the second half and it did not end up doing anything that they never added again.
The races came in a hurry. Sean Murphy singled to lead out, and Matt Chapman followed with another single. Then come Jed Lowrie, who did exactly what you think – hit a double. He hit right against a Southpaw pitcher and laid the other way down the line, driving in both runners.
They were not finished. Next time was Mitch Moreland, and he deposited the ball just over the fence in the LF corner to a wall-scraper-homer in the opposite field.
While Moreland has generally not done much against leftists in his career, he has a good start against them this year with this dancer and also a ride before the real bullpen came in. Next time he’s up in a big spot in the 9th against a friendly relief, I’d like to roll the dice and see what he can do instead of burning a knife hitter and taking the bat out of his hands.
- Moreland, vs. LHP: 4-for-17, 2 HR, double, walk-off single, 3 BB, 5 Ks, sac fly
Like that, four strokes in the frame, the A’s had a four-run lead and they never looked back. They reached base in all but one lap the rest of the way, but never put together enough of a rally to score again, which was fine because Irvin took care of things from there.
It’s a wind strike! That’s three in a row, including the first half of this four-game series against the Jays. Tonight was similar to last night, when all areas of the team clicked – pitching, hitting and defending, everyone came through, just with a more modest final score. It sounds like the A’s are starting to drive a new wave!