OAKLAND -- Catcher Stephen Vogt was at the center of the A's 8-7 comeback win over the Blue Jays on Friday night, belting a tying homer in the fifth and a go-ahead RBI single in the seventh.
Vogt walked the length of the dugout following his homer, which tied the score at 7 and followed Khris Davis' two-run jack to erase a four-run deficit, slapping hands and yelling encouragement to his teammates. The A's were back in business.
"It was a huge game for us in a lot of ways," Vogt said. "A lot of emotion tonight and a lot of fire from our dugout. It's a great way to kick off the second half."
Simply playing the Blue Jays was enough to create extra adrenaline for the A's, according to closer Ryan Madson.
Toronto took a 7-3 lead in the fourth. In the bottom of the inning, A's manager Bob Melvin and first baseman Yonder Alonso were ejected for arguing balls and strikes, which Madson believed clearly fueled the team.
Jake Smolinski chipped in an RBI to cut the deficit to 7-4 in the fourth, and Davis and Vogt went back-to-back in the fifth, supercharging the Coliseum.
"That opposing team will create emotions," Madson said. "Our guys don't get thrown out every day. Obviously something was going wrong and obviously heightened everyone's emotions and woke everyone up from the [All-Star] break right there. I think it was a good thing. You can see from the bullpen, I saw it, how guys were getting fired up from the dugout."
"Especially the way it happened, it was something that needed to happen tonight," Vogt said of the ejections. "I'll leave it at that."
Vogt, Oakland's lone All-Star representative, went 3-for-4 and is hitting .356 over his last 16 games. His homer came on an elevated pitch from Marcus Stroman that Vogt roped on a line to right-center, and his RBI single in the seventh off Brett Cecil was rocketed back up the middle.
"He's been swinging a hot bat," Madson said. "His swing started coming around two weeks before the break, maybe 10 days before the break. I noticed his swing was speeding up. He had great bat speed.
"He had it early on and it kind of dipped a little bit, but the last 10 days before the break I noticed his bat was really quick. I knew he was going to do something with it and do some damage with it."
Oakland's comeback came on a day where Melvin said some veterans, such as Danny Valencia and Coco Crisp, will see a reduction in playing time as the club begins to evaluate younger players. But Vogt provided his ever-reliable presence to help start the second half of the season on a positive note.
"That was a huge, huge comeback," Vogt said. "Obviously one-run games have still been a nemesis for us, so it was nice to start the second half off with a comeback."
Mark Chiarelli is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.