The legend of Svirwin Irwin continues to grow.
Oakland A beat the Toronto Blue Jays for the second game in a row on Tuesday, this time 4-1, and the story begins and ends with a pass. Cole Irwin collected the longest start of the year for A and perhaps the best so far, with eight inning gems to lead his club to victory.
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Left Irwin made the team out of spring training when an injury opened a rotating spot and in his first two outings of the season he was defeated by the Houston Astros. But he has been on the road ever since, allowing only four overall runs in his last four starts combined, including tonight.
The big difference in this game comes in the basic indicators. In Irwin̵
In the first five passes, Jazz reached base once against Irwin, on one, and even that was immediately erased in a double play. On the 6th, they strung a single and a double to mark a series. On the 7th they walked, but blocked the runner. That was it.
- Irwin: 8 ip, 1 mile, 9 Ks, 1 BB, 3 hits, 102 pitches, 84.8 mph EV
Toronto hit the ball hard against him only four times. Two went for the hits they deserved, one was a sharp lineup followed by Ramon Laureanoand the other was a primer that found no hole. Meanwhile, he hit a third of the tests he encountered, with a combination of missing bats, as well as painting the corners and receiving calls. He only went to count three balls four times, including one walk.
There is no warning or asterisk or “but actually”. It was a Swirvin Irvin gem, by all means, easily the best we’ve seen from it, and in the discussion of the best we’ve seen from any A starter this year.
He also set a number of records in Irwin’s career, including but not limited to innings and strikes, and another boarding staff member also had a great day.
With a three-lead lead in the 9th, the A’s took a break from the two-headed closer tandem after both were last night. Instead, Usmeiro Small entered to lock the final frame, retiring from the country to take his first rescue of 2017. Then he was the angels who made this his first rescue as a member of A, in his 196th participation in the green and gold .
The only run for Toronto tonight was delivered by Marcus Semyon, in the second game of his series to return home after leaving Auckland in a free agency last winter. Semien doubled RBI in the 6th, which put Jays on board, so even when the boarding briefly shook, it was still a clean slate in its own way.
4-1 A victory, where the only RBI of the opponent was from our favorite hometown? Perfection.
Auckland’s lineup continued to roll, at least enough to maintain a dominant pitcher. They made all their points early, in the second inning, and in the end it didn’t matter that they never added again.
The runs came quickly. Sean Murphy selected to lead, and Matt Chapman followed by another single. Then he came Jed Lowrywho did exactly what you thought – hit a double. He fought properly against a pitcher with a south paw and lined it up on the other side of the line, driving both runners.
They were not over. The next was Mitch Morelandand he deported the ball just above the fence in the low angle for a homer from the opposite field.
While Moreland has generally not done much against leftists in his career, he started well against them this year, with this dinger, and also a walk before the right bull came in. Next time he’s in a big spot in the 9th against a left reliever, I’d definitely like to roll the dice and see what he can do instead of burning a pinch and taking the bat out of his hands.
- Moreland v LHP: 4-for-17, 2 HR, double, single, 3 BB, 5 Ks, bag
That’s right, with four strokes in the frame, A had four times experience and never looked back. They reached a base in all but one inning the rest of the way, but never got enough rallies to score again, which was good because Irwin took care of things from there.
This is a series of victories! These are three in a row, including the first half of this series of four games against the Jays. Tonight was similar to last night, with all areas of the team snapping – passing, hitting and defending, all passed, only with a more modest end result. Sounds like A is starting to ride a new wave!