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Cole Irvin’s ‘great’ outing wasted as errors haunt Athletics in loss to Angels

Errors overshadow Irvin’s ‘great’ outing in loss to Angels originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

If you turned off the TV after the first inning of the Athletics’ 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday at Angel Stadium, you’d probably assume Oakland starter Cole Irvin is the reason they dropped the opener of the three-game series in Anaheim.

But if you kept the TV on, you’d know that was far from the truth.

After David Fletcher’s leadoff homer in the bottom of the first gave the Halos the early 1-0 lead, Irvin shook it off and stayed focused. In six innings, Irvin allowed three runs (two earned) and six hits, and struck out four on 90 pitches.

“The only pitch I really want back is the leadoff homer to Fletcher,” Irvin said postgame. “I think if I went spin there it was a different result. That’s all I can complain about, otherwise it was a good outing.”

But a couple of uncharacteristic defensive errors and a lack of run support led to a disappointing loss in a game that was very much winnable.

“I thought Irvin was great,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said after the game. “He came out first inning, made one mistake. We didn’t have our best defense behind him tonight and gave them a run. I thought he managed the lineup well and still kept us in the ballgame.”

Both teams had seven hits, and the A’s were more than capable of tightening the deficit and even taking the lead at one point.

The A’s best shot came in the sixth when they loaded the bases but couldn’t capitalize on it. They were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

Shortstop Elvis Andrus went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles in his first two at-bats, and then singled in the sixth. Oakland’s solo run came on a Sean Murphy single that scored Jonah Bride.

The A’s lost the game Tuesday, and a day earlier, they also lost a fan favorite when they traded away their ace Frankie Montas and closer Lou Trivino to the New York Yankees for four prospects.

The team understands it’s all business, but Irvin admitted it still “tugged at the heartstrings a little” to watch two of his closest buddies on the team move across the country.

But aside from the emotions of it all, the fact is that Irvin, who has four seasons under his belt including two with Oakland, is now technically the most experienced starter on the team.

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Irvin was shocked to hear that, and when asked if he’ll be the player to step up and lead this team, his response sounded all too leader-like already.

“We’re all trying to step up in our own way,” Irvin said. “We’re always trying to improve and get better. I think it’s holding each other accountable. That’s how we get better, that’s how we get stronger as a staff.”

Well, whether it’s Irvin or someone else in the club, the A’s will look to get things rolling again when they face Shohei Ohtani and the Angels in the second game of the series on Wednesday night.