Buehrle tops A's, brings Blue Jays' streak to 11
TORONTO -- Ryan Goins hit a three-run homer and Mark Buehrle allowed two runs over seven-plus innings as the Blue Jays extended their winning streak to 11 games with a 4-2 victory and a series sweep over Oakland on Thursday afternoon in front of a sold-out crowd at Rogers Centre.
The 11-game winning streak matches a Toronto record that had been done four times before, including earlier this year from June 2-14. The Blue Jays also become the first team since the 1954 Indians to record a pair of winning streaks that lasted at least 11 games in the same year.
Right-hander Jesse Chavez took the loss for Oakland after allowing four runs in the second inning. He settled in after that by not surrendering another run over his six innings, but the A's lineup wasn't able to get anything going off Buehrle. The veteran lefty pitched into the eighth and hasn't allowed more than three earned runs since May 29. More >
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Goins, Goins, Gone: Goins is known for his glove and not the bat, but it was his offense that did all of the talking in the series finale. His first plate appearance came in the second inning and after falling behind, 1-2, he sent an 89-mph fastball over the wall in right field for a three-run homer. According to Statcast™, Goins' fourth of the year was projected to travel 351 feet and it left his bat at 98 mph. Toronto has homered in 12 consecutive games and in 24 of 25 games since the All-Star break.
"The big part of the lineup is gonna be one through five, six, seven," said Goins. "Us guys at the bottom are just trying to have a good at-bat and turn it over to those guys; they're gonna be the guys who carry us." More >
Missed opportunities: After loading the bases in the first inning and exiting without a run, the A's came right back in the second to put runners at the corners with no outs, courtesy of back-to-back singles from Josh Reddick and Coco Crisp. But more of the same ensued, as Marcus Semien struck out looking and Billy Burns ended the threat by flying out to center field. The A's, who got an RBI triple from Burns in a two-run eighth, finished 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position on the day.
"Any time you put a team on the ropes early in the game, you want to do some damage, but unfortunately for the group today, we couldn't do anything about it," Brett Lawrie said.
Escaping the jam: Buehrle's pitching line was nearly flawless, but his outing could have gone a lot differently if not for a fortunate first inning. Oakland loaded the bases with nobody out in the first, but Danny Valencia hit a weak grounder back to the mound and Buehrle tossed home before catcher Dioner Navarro threw to first to complete the double play. Toronto's veteran lefty then got Josh Phegley to ground out as the inning came to an end without the A's being able to score a single runner.
"For me, bases loaded and nobody out, that's usually guaranteed for at least a run or two because I don't strike guys out," Buehrle said. "I threw the curveball to Valencia and luckily he grounded it back to me. When guys are on base, I just have to try to pitch out of jams."
"The rest of my body parts are healing up from getting worn out, so I figured I needed to hang out with the trainers a little bit more to get some treatment so I had to wear off another body part." -- Buehrle, on getting struck on his left forearm by a sharp grounder in the first inning
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Blue Jays starters have allowed three earned runs or fewer in 17 consecutive starts. That's the longest streak for Toronto since a club-record 18 consecutive outings from May 5-25, 1991.
Toronto manager John Gibbons won his challenge in the top of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Burns hit a sharp liner down the left-field line that was called fair by third-base umpire Jeff Kellogg. Gibbons asked for a review and following a brief delay, the call on the field was overturned. Video replays showed the ball landed a couple of inches foul and the Blue Jays were able to hold onto their challenge.
Athletics: The A's will continue their road trip in Baltimore on Friday for the start of a four-game series against the Orioles, with first pitch at Camden Yards set for 4:05 p.m. PT. Oakland has yet to name a starter for the contest, after pushing Chavez up a day to pitch in place of Sonny Gray (back spasms) on Thursday in Toronto.
Blue Jays: No. 1 starter David Price will take the mound when the Blue Jays open a crucial series against New York on Friday at Rogers Centre at 7:07 p.m. ET. First place in the AL East will be on the line this weekend and Toronto couldn't ask for a better starter to be on the mound for Game 1. Price faced the Yankees during his last outing and didn't allow a run over seven innings.
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