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Pinder's first slam powers A's past Blue Jays

Special to MLB.com

TORONTO -- Chad Pinder was the hero for the A's on Saturday afternoon in Toronto with a grand slam in the eighth inning to give Oakland a 5-4 win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

The 403-foot shot to right-center field was Pinder's first career grand slam in the Majors and fourth home run of the season. The A's have now won five out of six and given themselves a chance to sweep the four-game series against the Blue Jays on Sunday.

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TORONTO -- Chad Pinder was the hero for the A's on Saturday afternoon in Toronto with a grand slam in the eighth inning to give Oakland a 5-4 win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

The 403-foot shot to right-center field was Pinder's first career grand slam in the Majors and fourth home run of the season. The A's have now won five out of six and given themselves a chance to sweep the four-game series against the Blue Jays on Sunday.

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"Going into my at-bat, they'd been beating me up with the fastball," Pinder said. "So I was just looking for something up to be able to drive and stay short, so that's what I did."

Stephen Piscotty drove in Matt Chapman earlier in the eighth to cut the score to 4-1 and move Khris Davis to third. Jed Lowrie then walked to load the bases and keep the rally alive for Pinder.

Video: OAK@TOR: Piscotty lines an RBI single in the 8th

"Let's not forget Jed," manager Bob Melvin was quick to point out. "Jed comes off the bench, sits there for eight innings, and puts together an at-bat like that off a closer. That set it up. Certainly the Pinder at-bat had the dramatics."

Until the eighth, Oakland's offense was silent behind Sean Manaea and the bullpen. The A's threatened, but they couldn't get the timely hit early on.

Manaea recorded just two strikeouts, which is his fewest in 2018, and allowed five runs on four hits and three walks over five innings of work. The five innings also match Manaea's shortest outing of the season.

Video: OAK@TOR: Manaea strikes out Donaldson for his first K

"The start today wasn't really the greatest," Manaea said. "That's what good teams do, they come back and guys pick each other up. That's exactly what happened today. This team's been unbelievable so far."

The young lefty kept the Blue Jays scoreless until the bottom of the fifth inning, when the bottom of Toronto's order finally got to him. After Manaea hit Dwight Smith Jr. with a pitch, number nine hitter Gio Urshela took Manaea deep to the opposite field for his first home run with the Blue Jays.

Video: OAK@TOR: Urshela hits his first homer as a Blue Jay

Outside of that fifth and final inning, however, Manaea looked sharp. He allowed just two hits and two walks through the first four frames and produced some weak contact off the Blue Jays bats.

"I thought he was squeezed a little bit on one side early, but he battled through it," Melvin said. "He leaves with four runs, for him it looks like a bad outing, but we ended up winning the game."

Emilio Pagan took over for Manaea in the sixth and helped out a worn-down A's bullpen by pitching two quick innings. Lou Trivino handled the eighth and handed off to Blake Treinen, who recorded his 10th save.

Video: Treinen secures the save

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The A's had a big opportunity to break through in the top of the sixth with the bases loaded after they chased starter Sam Gaviglio from the game. Jonathan Lucroy came to the plate against Seunghwan Oh, but grounded out weakly to first base to end the inning.

Video: OAK@TOR: Oh escapes a bases-loaded jam in the 6th

SOUND SMART
The A's are now 8-2 (.800) in one-run games this season, the highest winning percentage in the Majors. Melvin credits a combination of young, hungry players who developed in a winning environment with the team's valuable veterans.

"They don't want to lose," Melvin said. "Our best at-bats come late in games. We've done really well in one-run games this year because these guys put together really good at-bats late in the game."

Video: OAK@TOR: Fowler jumps into the wall for a grab

UP NEXT
Daniel Mengden will finish out the A's series in Toronto on Sunday afternoon at 10:07 a.m. PT. Mengden has walked only five batters over 50 1/3 innings this season and has allowed just two earned runs or fewer in each of his last three starts. He'll face Joe Biagini, who joined the Blue Jays' rotation after Marcus Stroman was placed on the disabled list.

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

Oakland Athletics, Chad Pinder