OAKLAND -- Josh Reddick took off running as soon as Stephen Vogt's single rocketed up the middle in the seventh, and Reddick didn't stop until he narrowly avoided a tag at the plate to score the go-ahead run in the A's 8-7 win over the Blue Jays on Friday night
OAKLAND -- Josh Reddick took off running as soon as Stephen Vogt's single rocketed up the middle in the seventh, and Reddick didn't stop until he narrowly avoided a tag at the plate to score the go-ahead run in the A's 8-7 win over the Blue Jays on Friday night at the Coliseum.
For a moment, it appeared it still wasn't enough, as Reddick was initially called out by home-plate umpire Mark Wegner. A replay review overturned the call, giving the A's the lead, and Oakland's bullpen combined to throw 5 2/3 shutout innings, including a scoreless ninth from Ryan Madson for his 18th save.
"I knew I was safe," Reddick said. "I was coming back [to the dugout] to tell them I got in. Before I even got in, they were already walking to the review booth."
Reddick went from third to home in 6.656 seconds, according to Statcast™, and needed every last one, barely beating center fielder Kevin Pillar's throw that zipped home at 92.136 mph.
A's manager Bob Melvin watched the play from the clubhouse following his ejection in the fourth inning, and also agreed that Reddick was safe.
"I got a good view of it on video from about 10 different angles," Melvin said. "That's a play we have to be aggressive right there. It was the right call to send him. He was safe, made a good slide. It ended up being the right outcome for us."
Vogt was key in spurring Oakland's comeback. He tied the score at 7 in the fifth with his eighth homer right after Khris Davis' two-run jack to erase a 7-4 Blue Jays lead.
Toronto's offense erupted for seven runs over the first four innings, chasing A's starter Daniel Mengden with one out in the third, but Marcus Stroman couldn't hold the lead, turning in his second shortest outing of the season. Stroman showed signs of improvement prior to the All-Star break, yielding three runs in two combined starts, but he gave up three homers and nine hits, and has a 5.15 ERA through 19 starts.
"It's unacceptable," a visibly frustrated Stroman said after the game. "I just didn't get the job done. The guys did an unbelievable job scoring runs and putting our team in a position to win. I just didn't come through."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Pillar's throw a split second too late: Oakland took the lead for good in the seventh, but it almost didn't happen because of a highlight-reel throw from Pillar. Toronto's center fielder charged the ball hard on Vogt's single up the middle and fired a near-perfect throw home to catcher Russell Martin. Replay officials determined that Reddick's foot hit the plate before Martin's tag was applied and just like that Oakland had a lead it would not relinquish.
"When you slow it down, you saw it, you could see that he was safe," Martin said. "In real time, it was bang-bang. A perfect throw from Kevin. But when you look at the replay, right away I was like, he's safe."
Four in a row: The Blue Jays took control early thanks to a four-run fourth. Troy Tulowitzki and Justin Smoak reached base to open the frame and then Pillar, Devon Travis, Ezequiel Carrera and Josh Donaldson came through with four consecutive RBIs. Pillar, Travis and Donaldson each had RBI singles, while Carrera drove in his run on a grounder to shortstop. Toronto held onto that lead for just one inning as Stroman was chased in the fifth.
"You score seven runs you should win, normally," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "How many runs did they score with two outs, nobody on base? Stro is in the fifth, he's got two outs and a three-run lead, bam, bam."
Mengden's struggles continue: The A's rookie dazzled to begin his career, posting a 2.81 ERA through four starts, but he has struggled in July. He's walked nine batters in his last 13 1/3 innings and his control was a major factor in Toronto's four-run fourth inning, as he walked Smoak and also threw a wild pitch in the dirt to put two runners in scoring position. Mengden hasn't finished five innings in his last two starts.
ALONSO, MELVIN EJECTED
Melvin and first baseman Yonder Alonso were ejected by Wegner in the fourth inning for arguing ball and strikes. It was the second straight at-bat the A's took umbrage with Wegner's strike zone, following a Marcus Semien strikeout that resulted in Semien and Melvin trading words with Wegner. Alonso and Melvin were quickly tossed after what Alonso perceived was a low strike-three call.
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW
The Blue Jays challenged a play at second base in the eighth inning, claiming Jake Smolinski violated the slide rule sliding into the bag on a potential double play. After a 48-second review, it was confirmed Smolinski did not interfere with the play.
Blue Jays: Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (7-9, 3.93 ERA) will take the mound on Saturday at 4:05 p.m. ET in the middle game of the series at the Coliseum. Dickey has a 3.10 ERA since the start of May.
Athletics: Right-hander Sonny Gray begins the second half of his season against the Blue Jays on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. PT hoping for a turnaround. Gray is 3-8 with a 5.16 ERA in 16 starts one year after finishing third in the American League Cy Young Award voting, and hasn't won since April 22.
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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.
Mark Chiarelli is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area and covered the A's on Friday.