Blue Jays soar over A's for 9th straight win
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays put together a three-run second inning with help from a pair of A's miscues, and Jose Bautista chipped in with a solo shot in the fifth in support of right-hander Drew Hutchison, who held Oakland to two runs across seven-plus innings in a series-opening 4-2 victory, Toronto's ninth in a row. With the Yankees' loss to the Indians Tuesday, the Blue Jays are a half-game out of first in the American League East.
Errors by A's infielders Marcus Semien and Eric Sogard resulted in two unearned runs for the Blue Jays, who also got a pair of doubles from Chris Colabello and Justin Smoak in the second against right-hander Kendall Graveman. Colabello finished with three hits.
"That might be the worst inning we've played this year," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "And we've had some bad defensive innings. But all the way around, we basically gave them the whole inning. It should have been a different kind of game if we'd played any kind of defense that inning."
Graveman allowed four runs (two earned) in 4 2/3 innings in the loss. Danny Valencia, claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays last week, notched an RBI double against his former team in the first. Billy Burns provided the A's their only other run by way of an eighth-inning RBI single.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hutchison settles in: The right-hander rebounded from a shaky first inning to take a much-deserved victory. After allowing a run in the first and a pair of hits to start the third, Hutchison allowed only a walk and a single over his next four innings before coming out in the top of the eighth inning.
"He's been kind of the whipping boy around here lately," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "But to step up like that, it's big."
Errors of their ways: The A's committed two critical errors in the second inning, leading to as many unearned runs while forcing Graveman to throw 33 pitches in the frame. After a Colabello hit bounced over the head of left fielder Coco Crisp for a double, shortstop Semien threw wide of first base on Russell Martin's ground ball, allowing Colabello to score. Smoak followed with an RBI double, and second baseman Sogard bobbled Kevin Pillar's ensuing grounder, bringing Smoak to third and eventually home on Ryan Goins' groundout. More >
Bautista bomb: The Blue Jays' slugger went deep for the second time in as many games with his solo shot in the fifth inning. Bautista has six homers in his last 10 games, and three in his last four. Twenty of his 27 homers on the season have come since June 1.
"For as much as we're notorious for hitting homers and doubles, I think we have a lot of professional hitters. The way you become a guy that slugs in the big leagues, you have to be a good hitter first." -- Colabello, on the Blue Jays' ability to win more ways than one More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Tulo Effect: The Blue Jays' record when Troy Tulowitzki starts reached 12-0 with the win. The club has been on fire since acquiring the All-Star shortstop from the Rockies at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Since he made his Toronto debut on July 29, the Blue Jays' 1-through-4 hitters have slugged a combined 18 home runs. As a whole, the team has gone deep 23 times, a Major League-best total.
The A's won a crucial challenge with one out in the first inning, when replay review determined Josh Reddick was safe on the back end of a potential double play after the outfielder was initially ruled out. Valencia responded with an RBI double.
The Blue Jays successfully challenged an out call on a Smoak double in the bottom of the second inning. The switch-hitting Smoak belted a shot to the wall in left field, scoring Martin, but was ruled out as he slid into second base. After a one-minute, eleven-second review, the call on the field was overturned.
A's: Right-hander Aaron Brooks, who has a 1.26 ERA in his first two starts with the A's, takes the mound Wednesday at 4:07 p.m. PT for the second of a three-game series in Toronto. Brooks' first career start came at Rogers Centre, where he endured a forgettable seven-run outing that lasted just two-thirds of an inning on May 31, 2014.
Blue Jays: R.A. Dickey will start a day earlier than expected when the Blue Jays and A's resume their three-game series on Wednesday at 7:07 p.m. ET. The 40-year-old knuckleballer has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 13 straight starts.
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