OAKLAND -- A leadoff walk was followed by another, but Edwin Jackson would quickly erase the markings of an ominous beginning.By night's end, he was popping a 6-liter bottle of champagne gifted by wife Erika, who had been lugging it around the country -- along with their three children --
OAKLAND -- A leadoff walk was followed by another, but Edwin Jackson would quickly erase the markings of an ominous beginning.
By night's end, he was popping a 6-liter bottle of champagne gifted by wife Erika, who had been lugging it around the country -- along with their three children -- for a month, anticipating this moment.
It didn't appear that career win No. 100 would come so easy for the A's right-hander, until it did.
Pitching around two baserunners in the opening frame Monday night, Jackson did it again in the third, buoyed by the kind of run support that has eluded him in green and gold and clocking 5 2/3 scoreless innings in a 10-1 series-opening victory over the Blue Jays.
Jackson, who had received no more than one run of support in all but one of his first six starts with Oakland, worked around three hits and three walks to help the A's shake off a three-game sweep at Coors Field.
"It's special," Jackson said, son Exavier nearby clutching the game ball with "100" etched on it. "To look back where I've come from and to imagine having 100 Major League wins is definitely something that I never envisioned, I never pictured, but I've been blessed with a crazy but successful career. To be able to do it with these guys in the fashion that they did it in tonight makes it even more special, and it lets you know about the group we have."
"It's pretty cool," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I mean, a guy comes into this team. What is this? His 13th organization or whatever, and day one fits in like he's been here a few years. Everybody is pretty excited for him. I know he's excited. One-hundred wins is a lot of wins, and guys are celebrating for him in there right now."
Improving to 28-10 since June 16, the A's remain within two games of an American League Wild Card spot; moreover, just five games separate them from the AL West-leading Astros, who were dealt their fifth consecutive loss by Seattle on Monday.
Mark Canha belted his 14th homer of the season, and Stephen Piscotty collected his 15th, while leadoff man Nick Martini kept at it with two more hits, including an RBI double in a two-run fourth inning against Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada, just off the DL. Oakland tacked on six more runs in the eighth, getting two-run doubles from Jonathan Lucroy and Jed Lowrie.
The A's simply needed to escape the Rocky Mountains, it seems, to rediscover their rhythm. Baseball is funny like that; Jackson, who recently latched on to his Major League record-tying 13th team, knows this as well as anyone.
Signing the 34-year-old veteran pitcher to a Minor League deal in June has been one of the A's best moves this year. He's completed at least five innings while allowing no more than three earned runs in six of his seven starts, consistently doing his part in a patchwork rotation.
"I played against him a lot over the years," Lucroy said. "After we got the win, we were talking and I said, 'Did you ever think I would be catching you for your 100th win? It was kind of random, kind of funny. It's cool, man. When you have 100 wins in the big leagues, it means you've been around a while. Pretty impressive and definitely happy to be a part of it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The A's were clinging to a 1-0 lead when Jackson issued his third walk of the night in the third, putting runners at first and second for Kendrys Morales. That's when Jackson buckled down to get the Blue Jays slugger on strikes, moving ahead of Yangervis Solarte 0-2 before inducing an inning-ending ground ball to thwart the threat.
"He just ended up making pitches when he had to," Melvin said. "It takes a veteran guy with some experience to be able to take a step back and do your thing. We had lost three games in a row. This was an important win for us. For him to pitch the way he did after a little bit of a rocky start shows you a little of what he's about."
Canha's homer was just his third off a right-hander this season, his other 11 coming off lefties.
HE SAID IT
"We're in a playoff race right now, and this team has a chance to do something special, even being the underdogs in the division that we're in with Houston and Seattle. I've been on a lot of teams. I've been on winning teams. I've been on losing teams. And this team possesses something special." -- Jackson, on the A's unexpected playoff run
A's right-hander Trevor Cahill (2-2, 3.43 ERA) will square off with Blue Jays righty Sam Gaviglio (2-3, 4.65) in the middle matchup of this three-game set. Cahill, who will be making the 200th start of his career, has stumbled to a 5.65 ERA in three starts since his return from the disabled list. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT at the Coliseum on Tuesday.
Jane Lee covers the A's for MLB.com.