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Bullpen carries load again to beat Blue Jays

After Anderson exits, relievers combine for 15 K's in 8 innings
Special to MLB.com

TORONTO -- The Athletics' bullpen handled the heavy lifting again on Friday, pitching the final eight innings of their 3-1 win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Starter Brett Anderson exited the game with a left shoulder strain after warming up before the second inning, and Josh Lucas took over for the next 3 2/3 innings, looking nearly unhittable until his final frame.

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TORONTO -- The Athletics' bullpen handled the heavy lifting again on Friday, pitching the final eight innings of their 3-1 win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Starter Brett Anderson exited the game with a left shoulder strain after warming up before the second inning, and Josh Lucas took over for the next 3 2/3 innings, looking nearly unhittable until his final frame.

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"He was in uniform, at best, 20 minutes before the game," manager Bob Melvin said about Lucas being called up before the game. "Dustin Fowler had a good night, we had a lot of contributions tonight, but none more than Josh Lucas."

Video: OAK@TOR: Fowler cracks first big league HR to left

Lucas was worried the Toronto traffic would keep him from reaching Rogers Centre in time for first pitch, but he made it in time to strike out seven batters and allow one run on just two hits, both of which were weakly hit balls. Friday's outing was Lucas' longest since 2013, when he was pitching at the lower levels of the Minor Leagues in the Cardinals organization.

"You need someone to [get the ball to the bullpen] in the fifth inning and he [played that role tonight]," Melvin said. "It was a godsend for us."

Fowler sparked the offense, hitting the first home run of his career in the third inning and also hitting an RBI double in the seventh inning. Fowler also stole a base and was driven home by Josh Phegley for Oakland's third run of the game, giving him a hand in every phase of the offense as he continues to heat up on this road trip.

Video: OAK@TOR: Phegley plates Fowler on an RBI double

"Pretty good night for Dustin, no doubt," Melvin said. "That home run the other way, he's been working to drive the ball the other way. A base hit, a stolen base, he drove in another run. When you're a rookie and you just get here, and you're looking to feel like you're part of it, this goes a long way."

Video: OAK@TOR: Fowler lines go-ahead RBI double in the 7th

Danny Coulombe took over from Lucas and got the A's through the sixth, then was followed by Chris Hatcher and Yusmeiro Petit. Blake Treinen handled the final four outs of the game and picked up his ninth save of the season. The bullpen finished with 15 strikeouts.

Anderson said after the game that his shoulder injury is a "day-to-day situation" for now and that he will be re-evaluated on Saturday.

"I can't imagine we don't DL him," Melvin said, "but we'll see."

Friday's bullpen usage comes on the heels of Thursday's series opener, when the A's removed starter Andrew Triggs in the third inning after he experienced nerve irritation in his right forearm, landing him on the disabled list.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Matt Joyce kept the Blue Jays off the board in the first inning with a throw home from left field just in time to get Curtis Granderson, who was trying to score from second on a single. Joyce's throw drifted a bit up the third-base line, but Phegley made a strong tag lunging back to the plate.

Video: OAK@TOR: Joyce throws out Granderson at the plate

SOUND SMART
The A's have homered in all eight games on this road trip, including a trio of three-homer games and one four-homer game. They lead the Majors in home runs hit on the road.

HE SAID IT
"Other than my debacle, it was a good team win." -- Anderson

"I wasn't just going to leave him at the airport." -- Lucas, on fellow Friday call-up Emilio Pagan, who took a little longer to clear customs in Toronto

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Matt Chapman doubled in the ninth inning after entering the game late and was caught in a close pickoff play at the bag with Fowler at the plate. Blue Jays reliever Ryan Tepera spun and made the throw to Yangervis Solarte, who applied the tag, and Chapman was initially called safe. The Blue Jays challenged, though, and the replay showed that the tag was in time. The call was overturned and Chapman was ruled out.

Video: OAK@TOR: Chapman picked off after call is overturned

UP NEXT
Sean Manaea takes the mound Saturday at 10:07 a.m. PT in the third of Oakland's four games at Rogers Centre against the Blue Jays. Manaea has given up four earned runs in each of his last three starts after giving up no more than two in his six April starts, including a no-hitter. The Blue Jays will counter with Sam Gaviglio, who joins the rotation after Jaime Garcia went on the disabled list.

Keegan Matheson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Toronto.

Oakland Athletics, Josh Lucas