Blue Jays Drop Series Opener to Athletics in Chapman’s Return to Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) As a kid, Stephen Vogt loved going to the July 4 San Francisco Giants games or Mother’s Day as a kid from Central California, and now he really appreciates playing on special holidays.

On Monday, 37-year-old Vogt changed his walk-up music to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” and then waved at the gates.

“Just thankful I was born in the US. It’s a bit old-fashioned. It’s always special to play on holidays, but the 4th of July is always such a great day. I’m just thankful for that,” Vogt said. “There were many memories of the good times. A packed crowd at the Colosseum – there’s no better place to play major league baseball than the Colosseum packed with fans. We clearly ate it tonight.”

Vogt’s family had arrived just before the summer and he treated them to a home run and sacrifice fly on July 4, when the Oakland Athletics defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 5-1 on Monday night.

“I’ll say he was born in the US, that’s for sure,” said winning pitcher Cole Irvin. “I knew he would hit one today.”

Ramon Laureano also went deep and Elvis Andrus had an early double-run double to prop up Irvin’s jewel for the A’s, which drew 24,403 fans on fireworks night out on a season-high.

Some of them chanted “We believe in Stephen Vogt!” in a chorus that was reminiscent of the cheers that became popular during the veteran catcher’s first stint at the club, with some unexpected playoff feats.

“The atmosphere is like it used to be,” says Vogt’s proud wife, Alyssa.

Irvin retired his first 11 batters in a row before Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doubled in the fourth and Alejandro Kirk followed with a runscoring single. A’s third baseman Vimael Machin then jumped to the right and landed a sharp grounder from Teoscar Hernandez to avoid more damage.

Irvin (3-6) struckout four batters and walked without a walk in eight innings, the best of the season, to record his first win in nine starts since returning from the injured list on May 22. He had been 0-5 during that period, with four consecutive losses.

Vogt did his part – again. In October 2013, he produced a game-winning playoff hit for a 1-0 win against Justin Verlander and the Tigers that sent the best-of-five AL Division Series back to Detroit, tied at 1.

Toronto righthander Alek Manoah (9-3) was tagged for five runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings. He missed a chance to tie Verlander, now with Houston, and Tony Gonsolin of the Dodgers for the Major League win.


Former A-star Matt Chapman received a warm ovation when he first came on the record for Toronto.

Before the game, Chapman returned to Oakland with his new team and made his way to the visitors’ clubhouse, where a photo greeted him in his locker.

He felt some emotion back at the Coliseum after the A’s traded him and Matt Olson in March. The A’s also lost Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt and Mark Canha last season. Manager Bob Melvin left to lead the Padres.

“It’s hard because we were all together, we were all kind of running for several years in a row and then it all goes really fast,” Chapman said. “It’s a big gear shift for everyone out there.”

He’s happy to be in Toronto now – and the Blue Jays are overjoyed to have him.

“We love Matt Chapman,” said Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo. “Thanks to him we have become much better.”


Blue Jays: RHP Kevin Gausman, who took a comeback off his right foot in a 6-2 loss to Tampa Bay in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, credits the padding on his cleats to protect his ankle from serious damage. “I feel like I need to test it before I go out and try to throw 100 throws at it,” Gausman said. “You want to be able to test it, but then you don’t want to do something while you’re testing it to push that back a little bit.” He played catch and will do it again on Tuesday before the game. Blue Jays determine his status to pitch in Seattle on Friday. …. C Danny Jansen (pink fracture) was on rehab with Triple-A Buffalo. … RHP Yimi Garcia (back strain) struckout two batters in one clean inning at Buffalo.

Athletics: RHP Frankie Montas will undergo an MRI exam on his pitching shoulder on Tuesday after leaving Sunday’s series finale in Seattle with inflammation. Manager Mark Kotsay sounded optimistic about Montas – the subject of trading speculation – poised to take his next turn in the rotation. ”Goes well. He doesn’t feel like this is a big deal, so that’s a positive,” Kotsay said. … RHP Dany Jimenez, who was on the 15-day injured list on June 21 with a strained pitching shoulder, flied out and is ready to begin a pitching progression.


LHP Yusei Kikuchi (3-4, 3.74 ERA) takes the mound for Toronto on Tuesday after going 1-0 with a 4.20 ERA over three starts vs. Oakland last year. He has a 3.19 ERA in nine games against the A’s. RHP Adrian Martinez (1-1, 6.30) throws the middle game of the series for the Athletics.

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