OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — First-year manager Mark Kotsay walked up the tunnel after another impressive victory by his Athletics and tried to remember the last winning series at home.
“To be honest, I don't think I can reflect on it, so it does feel good to get a series win here at home," Kotsay said.
He couldn't recall because it had been nearly three months, since the club's first series at the Coliseum in April against Baltimore.
Stephen Piscotty homered and made a dazzling catch in right field, Adrián Martínez struck out five over five solid innings, and Oakland beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 on Tuesday night.
Matt Chapman hit a tying two-run homer in the second against his former club, but the A's held on to secure a winning series for just the second time in their last 12. They won 5-1 in Monday's first game, snapping a 12-game skid in series openers that was one shy of the Oakland record accomplished three times previously, most recently in 1994.
In a team meeting of A's hitters before the July 4 series opener Monday, Kotsay suggested putting the season's first half in the past and making a fresh start.
The A's won 5-3 on Fourth of July and again Tuesday.
“Yesterday was awesome, all the energy, July 4th, big crowd, I think some of that energy spilled over to today,” Piscotty said. “We had a meeting, we're going to kind of put that first half behind us, eliminate it, learn from it so hopefully we have a better record at home as we go forward.”
The A's loaded the bases with no outs in the third after Yusei Kikuchi allowed Nick Allen's leadoff walk, and then hit Ramón Laureano and Christian Bethancourt with pitches. Sean Murphy followed with a sacrifice fly.
Four relievers followed Martínez (2-1) and held Toronto in check, with Lou Trivino closing it out for his sixth save in seven opportunities. Trivino bounced back from a loss Saturday at Seattle that followed three straight saves.
Kikuchi (3-5), who went 1-0 with a 4.20 ERA over three starts versus Oakland last year, matched his season high with five walks in 2 1/3 innings. He was charged with four runs and two hits.
Teoscar Hernández also homered for Toronto, which matched a season-high five-game losing streak.
Martínez, proud to represent Mexicali, Mexico, worked with pitching coach Scott Emerson after losing at Seattle last Thursday.
“I had more confidence in my pitches,” he said.
Blue Jays: RHP Kevin Gausman, who took a comebacker off his right foot during a 6-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday, played catch for a second straight day, but his status to start Thursday at Seattle remained unclear. ... C Danny Jansen (pinkie fracture) had a day off but is set to catch again for Triple-A Buffalo on Wednesday in his rehab assignment. ... RHP Yimi García (back strain), who struck out two in one clean inning at Buffalo on Monday, was being evaluated to determine what's next.
Athletics: RHP Dany Jiménez, who went on the 15-day injured list June 21 with a strained pitching shoulder, threw for a second straight day. “I did read the report and there wasn't anything negative so we'll continue with Dany going forward on this program,” Kotsay said. ... RHP Brent Honeywell (stress reaction in pitching elbow) threw on flat ground and hasn't had any setbacks in his rehab throwing program. ... Rookie INF Jonah Bride took swings in "another step in the right direction" from his shoulder injury, Kotsay said. ... The A's didn't immediately know results from an MRI exam for RHP Frankie Montas on his pitching shoulder after he exited Sunday’s series finale at Seattle with inflammation. More details were expected to be announced Wednesday.
Four fans were injured by bullet fragments from outside the Coliseum while attending Monday's postgame fireworks show, Oakland Police and the A's said. None of the injuries were life-threatening. Police initially were notified of a possible shooting victim inside the ballpark and officers located three fans struck by bullet fragments “from what appears to be celebratory gunfire occurring throughout the city of Oakland,” the statement said. An additional victim walked into a hospital.
“From a safety standpoint, I think the Coliseum is a safe environment,” Kotsay said. “It’s just unfortunate that on a holiday with the fireworks show that people were injured.”
RHP José Berríos (6-4, 4.74 ERA) starts the finale for the Blue Jays having gone 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three 2021 appearances against the A's. Oakland RHP James Kaprielian (1-5, 5.43 ERA) hasn't gone deeper than six innings in a franchise-record 23 starts dating to July 10 last year.
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