Blue Jays Recap

Oakland Takes Blue Jays to the Matz, Win 5-4

Steven Matz’ struggles with the long ball returned in the Oakland Coliseum Monday night. The Blue Jays tried to close the gap throughout the night but fell a run short to the AL West Division leading Oakland Athletics.


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Toronto entered tonight’s game rejuvenated by a weekend sweep of the Atlanta Braves, but without George Springer who continues to battle leg injuries. Matz (4-2) has been a reliable rotation piece through his previous 5 starts and seemed poised to outduel young Oakland starter Frankie Montas. But as he had during his time as a New York Met, Matz surrendered a pair of homeruns over his 5 innings, striking out 6 but seemingly pitching out of trouble throughout his 92-pitch performance.

 

The A’s struck first in the bottom of the second inning. Back-to-back doubles by Matt Chapman and Jed Lowrie (3-4, RBI, 2 doubles) plated the first run. Cavan Biggio seemed to have a read on the Lowrie double, but the ball bounced of the right field wall just above his glove. Steven Piscotty then took a 1-2 fastball over the left field fence to give Oakland a 3-0 lead.

 

The Blue Jays rallied right back in the top of the third. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Biggio each singled. Bo Bichette then drilled a backdoor slider up the middle to drive home Danny Jansen, who had reached on a fielder’s choice. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. continue his torrid hitting, driving a ball sharply to right that reached Piscotty quickly enough form him to make a throw to the plate and holding Biggio at third. Teoscar Hernandez continued the hit parade on the first pitch he saw to left field, scoring Biggio and Bichette. Randal Grichuk sent a grounder up the middle that Elvis Andrus fielded and caught Hernandez drifting off second base. Marcus Semien almost topped off his homecoming to Oakland with a big home run that drifted foul . Instead he popped out with a runner on and leaving the game tied     3-3.

 

Oakland threatened again in the fourth. But a Biggio outfield assist and a controversial catcher interference call on a dribbler in front of home plate ended any threat. But the fifth inning proved to be Matz’ undoing. Ramon Laureano unloaded on a 109 mph, 432 foot home run deep to left center to make it 5-3 A’s. Matz also surrendered some long outs in both the 4th and the 5th and was lucky to leave the game with only 5 runs allowed.

 

The A’s starter Montas {3-2) kept the Toronto bats silent after a shaky 3rd inning, scattering 7 hits (5 in the 3rd) and allowing just those 3 runs. Sergio Romo followed Montas, before Lou Trivino entered in the 8th. Guerrero scorched a double off the right field wall to start things off for the Jays. After a Hernandez strikeout, Grichuk looped a single in front of Piscotty to put runners on the corner. Trivino unleashed several pitches his catcher Sean Murphy had to dive and slide to block before one got past the catcher and allowing Guerrero Jr to score. With the score now 5-4, Trivino recovered to strike out Semien and get Joe Panik to fly out to center to send the game to the ninth.

 

Jake Diekman overpowered the Blue Jays hitters he faced, striking out Jansen and Biggio en route to his third save of the year.

 

Guerrero was the lone Blue Jays hitter to register multiple hits, going 3 for 4 and hitting every ball he put in play hard, lifting his average to .356 and his OPS to an eye-popping 1.140.

 

Newly activated Anthony Kay (0-1) will take the mound to face off against A’s starter Cole Ervin (2-3) on Tuesday evening at 9:40 ET.

 

WHAT THE OTHER GUYS ARE SAYING

Former major league pitcher and current A’s television analyst Dallas Braden was effusive in his praise of struggling Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen : “Jansen is an excellent defensive catcher. The type of catcher any pitcher wants to throw to. Jansen has blocked 99.2% of the balls thrown in the dirt since the 2020 season. When you can do that, you really don’t worry about him going 2 for 35. You just want him to catch your pitchers.”

 

Marcus Semien received an extended ovation the first time he stepped to the plate in a visitor’s uniform. Play by play announcer Greg Kuiper and Braden praised Semien’s tenure in Oakland and as a team leader: ” You don’t have to be a loud mouth, look at me guy to be a real leader,: opined Braden. Kuiper added ” Semien just shows his teammates how to play the game and be successful with every at bat, every inning, and every game.”

 

 

*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.

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