A’s turn to Cole Irvin to go for third straight win

Field Level Media

May 04, 2021 at 12:13 pm.

A pair of young left-handers will try to slow down potent offensive attacks when the Toronto Blue Jays and host Oakland Athletics continue a four-game series on Tuesday night.

Both teams collected nine hits, but five of Oakland’s went for extra bases — including two home runs — to account for all of its scoring in a 5-4 win in the series opener on Monday.

Red-hot Ramon Laureano homered for the third straight day, a two-run, tie-breaking shot, and Stephen Piscotty added a two-RBI blast of his own, lifting the A’s to a narrow win in a game in which they blew a three-run lead.

Oakland is scheduled to send Cole Irvin (2-3, 3.67 ERA) in search of the third win in his last four outings as the A’s look to improve upon a two-game winning streak.

Irvin struggled in two starts to open his A’s employment before finding his game his last three times out. He has allowed just three runs in those outings against Detroit, Baltimore and Tampa Bay, suffering a 2-0 loss in his most recent start despite six strong innings.

The third-year major-leaguer, who chose the college route after being the 29th-round draft pick of the Blue Jays in 2012, has never faced Toronto in his career.

Purchased from Philadelphia after getting into just 19 games (three starts) for the Phillies in his first two seasons, Irvin made the Oakland starting rotation initially when Mike Fiers had to start the year on the injured list with back and side pain.

Fiers returned last week, but Oakland manager Bob Melvin elected to stick with the inspired Irvin, expanding to a six-man rotation for the time being.

“I’ve got a chip on my shoulder from past years,” he said last week. “I’m here to stay.”

The Blue Jays are slated to give Anthony Kay (0-1, 10.80) his second start of the season.

The former New York Mets first-round pick hasn’t pitched since getting bombed for five runs (four earned) and six hits in just 3 1/3 innings in a 7-5 loss at Kansas City on April 15.

Also a third-year major-leaguer, Kay has never pitched against the A’s.

The 26-year-old hopes to benefit from the type of run support that helped produce three straight wins over Atlanta to close out last week, when the Blue Jays put up 26 runs.

Toronto banged out nine more hits in the series opener in Oakland, but only one went for extra bases. Five singles came in a six-batter sequence of the third inning to account for all but one run of the Blue Jays’ scoring in the defeat.

The Blue Jays went without George Springer, who was given the night off after having been unable to finish Sunday’s game because of fatigue.

Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo was asked if that fatigue was the reason he didn’t use Springer as a late-game pinch hitter Monday.

“A little bit, yes,” Montoyo said. “If he could have, I would have. He couldn’t.”

Springer is expected to be the designated hitter on Tuesday.