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Elvis Andrus redeems error with walkoff, leads A’s over Royals

An Elvis Andrus line drive to center scored a diving Matt Chapman in the ninth to earn the A’s another walk-off win Friday night, 4-3 over the Kansas City Royals.

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Chapman’s second double of the night put him in scoring position with one out before Andrus delivered off Scott Barlow (L, 2-2, 1.95 ERA) for the win. Andrus said:

“One of the things that helped me in this at-bat tonight was I faced [Barlow] yesterday. I was able to see his breaking ball … really glad he threw me a fastball because today it was a lot of breaking balls and just getting the win for the team, that is what it is all about.”

Cole Irvin pitched a phenomenal six innings but gave up three straight hits including a homer before he was relieved with a 3-1 lead. The Royals came back and tied it headed into the ninth, but Oakland (38-27) came out on top and every single player who contributed to the four runs scored had been struggling but came through in the clutch.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the A’s clubhouse at the Oakland Coliseum.

Andurs on his walk-off after a slow start to the season:

“That is one of the reasons I loved joining the Oakland A’s, they never give up and are a team that plays until the last out. You can never count the Oakland A’s out until the last out and I love that, they are a winning team for a reason and me being part of this team just motivates me to do what I did tonight.”

Cole Irvin didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning. He threw six scoreless innings, but when he entered the seventh, it was nothing but hits from the heart of the order’s third plate appearance.

Irvin had a low pitch count the entire night. He entered the seventh only at 58 pitches and was not happy to be relieved. He touched on his outing:

“Obviously in the heat of battle It can be a little challenging at times to be pulled at the pitch count I was and I knew I was certainly efficient so it wasnt a matter of if I felt good or not so I mean the outing was extremely good. I thought I made a good pitch to Perez and he is such a good hitter he turned on it and then I got two weak contact fly ball hits and that just happens but overall I thought the outing was good.”

Salvador Perez led off the seventh with a solo homer before back-to-back singles from Benintendi and Soler put two on with no out still up 3-1. Irvin was relieved and it was up to Yusmeiro Petit to get the final two outs of the inning. It didn’t go as smoothly as A’s fans are used to. Petit retired the next two batters but an Elvis Andrus error loaded the bases before a Hanser Alberto fielder’s choice made it 3-2. Petit did a great job and kept his team in the lead despite all the drama and loaded bases.

Irvin did something on Friday he had always wanted to do, pitch with just the fastball through the first round of the order and he believed he executed it to a tee. He retired the first ten batters before he allowed his first hit. He made his MLB debut in 2019 against the Royals (30-32) and, although it may be a different team, he was able to reflect on his growth in such a short time:

“The confidence is obviously through the roof and I am just a completely different player. I am not doubting my abilities at the big league level, I am just trusting my stuff and trusting what I know how to do and it is something that took some time to get here… I have seen the door out and I don’t wanna be that guy. I wanna continue pitching with that chip on my shoulder and I am a different guy than I was in 2019. Two years makes a big difference.”

The A’s had a three-run fourth inning and every contribution came from a player who had been in a drought. Mitch Moreland hit a one out double then Chapman doubled off the wall in left field to make it 1-0. Seth Brown hit a bomb to right field to make it 3-0. The A’s didn’t score another run until the bottom of the ninth.

Andrus always brings up how him and Chapman have been struggling and how they could be even better when both of them find their grooves. Tonight they were the heroes, both had doubles and Andrus spoke on the two of them never giving up:

“He was a lot calmer. We are here early today and I know what he is going through. I probably feel the same way a month ago and we just let him know, know who you are. Go check the back of your baseball card and no matter how you are or how you are right now, we know we are going to end up the season so I think its about trust yourself, have faith and knowing that sooner than later everything is going to bet back on track and today that is what he did. He was able to relax and just let his talent go out there and perform and its not going to take him too long to get back on track.”

Jake Diekman took the mound in the eighth and threw three straight balls to the first batter he faced and you knew it was going to be an interesting inning. With one out he gave up a solo shot to Perez who had back-to-back home runs to tie the game 3-3. Lou Trivino relieved Diekman for the final out of the eighth and a 8-3-2 double play ended the inning, luckily. Trivino came out for the ninth and gave up a leadoff single but escaped the inning tied.

Chapman — who is batting .200 — hit his second double of the night, making him 3-for-4 to put himself in scoring position with one out in the bottom of the ninth. The Royals intentionally walked Brown to put two on with one out hoping for a double play to go into extra innings but it ended up being a walk-off Andrus single. Chapman scored from second, diving head-first into home plate as the A’s dugout sprinted to the field celebrating another walkoff win.

Andrus has been saying how great this team is, and when him and Chapman start hitting, the team will be even better,:

“When you make an error in that situation, I always want the redemption and not too often you get the opportunity to get redemption so as soon as I got the opportunity I had been, the last two, three inning praying for that situation and as soon as the opportunity as soon as I got it I was like I don’t know how it is going to happen but I am going to redeem myself and its always good to do it the right way and helping the team win.”

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