OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Cole Irvin stepped into Oakland’s rotation when experienced starter Mike Fiers went down, determined to prove he could more than handle such responsibility — Fiers has pitched a pair of no-hitters, after all.
With another impressive outing in the Athletics’ 4-1 win against Toronto, Irvin keeps showing he’s far more than a mere fill-in.
“He’s not a seat warmer anymore,” manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s been consistent the entire season. In a day we’re down some guys in the bullpen, eight innings, I either fell asleep or had a lot of confidence in him — one or the other. Probably the latter.”
Mitch Moreland hit a two-run homer on the heels of Jed Lowrie’s two-run double in the second to back Irvin’s gem.
Irvin (3-3) struck out a career-high nine over eight smooth innings in his first start against the Blue Jays, walking off to a standing ovation from the crowd of 2,970 after his final inning. He struck out eight in his previous outing against the Rays and has 29 Ks over his last 25 1/3 innings.
Even as he makes strides, the 27-year-old Irvin insists he will carry a chip on his shoulder.
“It’s still there. It’s not going to leave me,” Irvin said. “I’ve found something that works for me. I’m going to continue to do it as much as I can and pitch with that mindset of knowing that there’s someone out there that doesn’t think I should be in a big league uniform.”
He allowed three hits and one walk, throwing 102 pitches.
“That guy’s got good numbers. He’s been doing that against a lot of teams,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “It’s all about making adjustments and we didn’t do that today.”
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