OAKLAND -- Josh Donaldson made a name for himself at Oakland Coliseum, and on Wednesday afternoon, he made sure his homecoming didn't end without leaving behind a souvenir for his former hometown crowd.Donaldson, dubbed Bringer of Rain for his knack of hitting home runs, reminded the A's what they were
OAKLAND -- Josh Donaldson made a name for himself at Oakland Coliseum, and on Wednesday afternoon, he made sure his homecoming didn't end without leaving behind a souvenir for his former hometown crowd.
Donaldson, dubbed Bringer of Rain for his knack of hitting home runs, reminded the A's what they were missing with a two-run homer in the top of the 10th inning to help the Blue Jays avoid a three-game sweep with a 7-5 victory. It was Donaldson's second home run at the Coliseum since he was traded to Toronto prior to the 2015 season and his seventh of the season.
According to Statcast™, Donaldson's latest home run was projected to travel 394 feet and left his bat at 106 mph. It came off A's reliever Frankie Montas and was one of four Toronto home runs in the series finale. Justin Smoak picked up home runs No. 16 and 17 in his first multi-homer game of the season, while Kevin Pillar added a three-run shot in the victory.
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"Any home run is nice, but the situation of the game, being able to come through for my team like that, the circumstances," said Donaldson, who also walked three times. "I was able to do that a few times when I played here, so it was nice to be able to come back and hit one in a timely situation."
Neither starting pitcher factored into the decision. Toronto lefty Francisco Liriano allowed four runs -- three earned -- on six hits and a walk while striking out five over five innings. Oakland righty Jharel Cotton allowed four runs on four hits with four walks and four strikeouts over six innings. Toronto's bullpen retired 14 consecutive batters after Liriano left the game until Rajai Davis hit his second double of the game with two outs in the 10th.
Davis, who finished a home run shy of the cycle, led the A's offense, as he went 4-for-5 with four runs scored in his first multi-hit game since May 18 vs. Boston. It was the 10th four-hit game of Davis' career, with the last one coming on July 2, 2016, when he was with Cleveland and also came against Toronto. The A's also received a home run off the bat of Trevor Plouffe and an RBI double from Khris Davis.
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Trouble with the fly: Outfield defense has been a major concern for the Blue Jays of late with several lapses during this series. In the bottom of the first, left fielder Chris Coghlan mistimed his jump at the left-field wall and allowed a run to score on Davis' double. Then, in the fifth, Coghlan could not come up with another catchable ball at the wall which turned into a triple for Davis. The A's veteran speedster later came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Chad Pinder as Oakland tied the game at 4.
"I'm proud of our guys, we hung in there, [our] pitching did a great job holding there, but I'd like to see our defense play a little bit better," Donaldson said. "I feel like our defense hasn't been very sharp the last few days. It cost us a few runs here and there, but I believe in these guys and I believe they're going to be able to turn it around."
Pillar of strength: Pillar gave the Blue Jays a jolt in the top of the second inning with a three-run homer to left-center field. According to Statcast™, the shot was projected to travel 404 feet and left his bat at 100 mph. It was Pillar's eighth long ball of the season, and it followed a solo shot by Smoak earlier in the inning. That snapped a streak of four consecutive games where Toronto scored three runs or fewer, which was its longest such skid since April 8-13 (five games).
"He's good, but he knows he's good. He'll tell you he's good. That's what star players do. We've been watching it for a couple of years now. Ask him, I'm sure he'll tell you." -- Gibbons, on Donaldson
"Some balls up in the middle of the zone. Second one was a breaking ball. He's got a good fastball, and he's proud of his heater. But when you get it up in the middle of the plate at the big league level against some good hitters, they're going to turn it around, as you saw." -- A's manager Bob Melvin, on Montas
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Plouffe snapped an 0-for-25 skid with his solo homer in the bottom of the fourth inning. The home run came off Liriano, which should come as no surprise because Plouffe is 5-for-8 with four homers off the veteran lefty. The four home runs off Liriano are the most Plouffe has hit against any pitcher in his career.
Donaldson walked three times for the sixth time in his career. The last time was June 7, 2016.
Blue Jays: The Blue Jays will enjoy a day off on Thursday before opening a three-game series in Seattle on Friday night at Safeco Field with first pitch scheduled for 10:10 p.m. ET. Right-hander Joe Biagini (1-4, 3.31 ERA) will get the start in the first game of the series and Seattle will counter with right-hander Sam Gaviglio (2-1, 3.13). Biagini allowed three runs -- one earned -- over seven strong innings in his last start vs. the Yankees.
Athletics: The A's will spend the next week in Florida, starting with a four-game series at Tropicana Field. After a day off Thursday, first pitch Friday is at 4:10 p.m. with right-hander Andrew Triggs (5-5, 3.36 ERA) facing off against the Rays' Alex Cobb (4-4, 4.52 ERA). These teams will also play MLB's first scheduled doubleheader since 2011 on Saturday.
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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.
Alex Simon is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @alexsimon99.