OAKLAND — Badly beaten through the first three games of a four-game series against the White Sox, A’s manager Mark Kotsay felt it was a good time to hold a team meeting.

The message inside the clubhouse was about the importance of continuing to fight after being outscored by 22 points (29-7) in the previous three days. Given that Sunday would begin with a pre-game ceremony for the retirement of Dave Stewart’s No. 34 jersey, Kotsay used the legendary right-hander A, who was known for throwing with an advantage, as a shining example, ensuring that each of its players was present for the pre-match festivities.

“Showing our group support behind Dave was important because the man is everything an Oakland A is,” Kotsay said. “The grit and the grind, the fight. He’s part of our group. I spoke to the team this morning. We talked about Dave Stewart, the person and the player he represented here in Oakland and for our organization.”

Inspired by Stewart’s presence, the A’s cruised to a 10-3 victory over the White Sox at the Coliseum, playing with an attitude befitting their special day.

Cole Irvin embodied Stewart’s determination on the mound. Riding through a shaky first inning that put the A’s in an early one-run deficit, the southpaw held down an explosive Chicago offense to just three runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks with five strikeouts in seven innings.

After a lackluster performance against the Braves that saw him scored for a career-high nine runs in 4 2/3 innings, Irvin said he pushed himself during conditioning and strength work between starts while spending more time in the video room looking to change grips on a few of his throws.

“I threw in another two seams and a slider today, and felt it was a necessary change,” Irvin said. “With this work week as good as it was, I was really hoping for a solid result.”

Although his pre-game focus was primarily to prepare for the start, Irvin managed to get Stewart to sign a baseball, which he proudly placed on top of his locker after the game.

“It was great to be there when Dave was talking,” Irvin said. “Stew means a lot to Green and Gold. His demeanor. His work ethic. The way he attacks hitters. I find some similarity in that bulldog mentality.

“He said a lot of good things today that a lot of guys in this locker room can listen to and use as experience,” Irvin added. “I had a few conversations with Stew. He was such a good competitor. He went through a lot of adversity and I think there’s a lot of things you can learn from.”

Tony Kemp was among many key contributors to Oakland’s 14-hit offensive offense, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs and four runs scored. During the pre-game ceremony, Kemp walked away from his teammates and coaches just outside the A’s dugout in order to soak up words from Stewart, who he said he planned to write in your diary to remember what it means. go out and play every day.

“Just hearing Stew speak gives you chills,” Kemp said. “To understand what he went through in his career and the resilience he had, what a perfect role model to look up to. I feel like we just went out there and wanted to get a win for him. “

With Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson among the Legend A’s for Stewart’s big day, Kemp turned in a performance that would make the man to fly proud. Of all the first hitters in Oakland history (since 1968), Kemp became the first to homer, triple and score four runs in a single game, a feat even Henderson never accomplished in the course of his career.

The three-hit effort was a continuation of what was a much improved second half for Kemp. Admittedly, putting extra pressure on himself to perform following the departure of several stars this offseason, Kemp struggled in the first half, hitting just 0.203 in 85 games heading into the All-Star break. In the 43 games since, the utility man is now batting .293 (44 for 150) with three home runs and 24 RBIs.

“It was the worst first half I’ve had in 10 years of professional football,” Kemp said. “You learn a lot about yourself when you go through these failures. A person’s true character is when they go through battles and trials and tribulations. To put that first half behind me and just try to to be with my teammates, remember to go out and just have fun, I feel like the losses weighed on me a bit. I just wanted to go out and have fun, be myself. It shows.