OAKLAND -- Sam Gaviglio is not in danger of losing his job any time soon but the 28-year-old will have to find a way to start eating up more innings if he wants to remain in the Blue Jays plans beyond this season.
Gaviglio once again struggled to pitch deep into a game as he lasted just 2 2/3 innings during a 6-2 loss to the A's on Tuesday night at Oakland Coliseum. The second-year hurler allowed five runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out two as the Blue Jays lost for the sixth time over their last eight games.
Since the start of June, Gaviglio has managed to go more than five innings three times in 11 starts. His home and away splits have told an interesting story as well with a 7.92 ERA on the road vs. a 2.82 ERA at Rogers Centre, and his overall record sits at 2-4 with a 5.10 ERA.
"It was frustrating, I think, from the get-go," Gaviglio said after his second-shortest start of the season. "Coming out and walking two guys from the start. That's not an ideal situation. I did get out of there with minimum damage but I just couldn't get any rhythm going."
Despite the lack of innings, Gaviglio should feel secure that he has the rest of the year to make a case that he should be considered for a job next season. Right-hander Aaron Sanchez, who threw a second bullpen session on Tuesday, is expected to return at some point in August, but the Blue Jays currently don't even have five starters on the roster so his status shouldn't impact Gaviglio.
Prospect Sean Reid-Foley is a possible candidate to be promoted from Triple-A Buffalo at some point before the end of the season, but by then right-hander Marco Estrada could be moved in a possible August trade. All of that, plus the fact that the Blue Jays have gone with bullpen days twice in the past week, indicates that Gaviglio remains safe, but the results will still have to improve.
The outing against Oakland wasn't a positive step in that direction. Gaviglio was staked to an early 1-0 lead but surrendered two runs in the first and three more in the third before he was removed from the game. Khris Davis homered and Mark Canha chipped in with an RBI double as Gaviglio was limited to 74 pitches (47 strikes).
"I just don't think my pitches were very sharp tonight," said Gaviglio, who has not earned a victory since May 25 at Philadelphia. "I got behind in some counts, and it's harder to expand. You have to be in the strike zone a little bit more. It was frustrating. Poor command tonight, and I just couldn't do anything to help myself out and get through it."
For the second consecutive night, the Blue Jays were not able to generate much of anything off the A's pitching staff. Oakland starter Trevor Cahill allowed two runs while scattering five hits and a pair of walks. One of the only bright spots on offense for Toronto was first baseman Justin Smoak, who picked up his 17th home run of the season with a solo shot to right field.
"I don't think anybody expected them to be where they're at now, but they always have a good team," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "They play the game the right way. They always have hard-nosed players who bust it. They have a tremendous bullpen and they have some good hitters in that lineup."
Right-hander Brandon Cumpton made his first appearance in the Major Leagues since Sept. 13, 2014, when he was a member of the Pirates. He allowed one run over 1 2/3 innings against the A's on Tuesday night. Cumpton began the season pitching in independent ball for Southern Maryland.
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Yangervis Solarte was robbed of a hit during the eighth inning when A's third baseman Matt Chapman ranged well to his right to field a grounder and then made an incredible off-balance running throw across the diamond. Solarte didn't exactly do himself any favors by slowing down before reaching the base, but it was another highlight-reel play from one of the rising stars of the game.
"Oh gosh," Gibbons said when asked about the play. "There are some good ones out there. We were looking at Machado for years over there, this kid is right up there. ... We don't see him that often, but he has always played good against us. He's a difference maker. Very rarely do you get guys that good. He's confident. He's going to be a hell of a player."
Right-hander Marcus Stroman (4-7, 5.20) will get the start when the Blue Jays close out their three-game series against the A's on Wednesday afternoon at Oakland Coliseum with first pitch scheduled for 3:35 p.m. ET. Stroman has started to turn his season around since coming off the DL on June 23. He has allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of his last four starts and has a 2.98 ERA since returning to full health compared to a 7.71 ERA before that. The A's are set to counter with lefty Sean Manaea (9-7, 3.46).