In the eighth inning, with two runners on and veteran Darren Oliver on the mound, Alberto Callaspo drove a high fly ball to left field. Emilio Bonifacio got his glove on the ball as he crashed into the wall, but he was unable to hold on, as the Oakland A’s claimed a 5-3 lead over the Toronto Blue Jays.
The team would grab an insurance run when Chris Young lofted a single to left as the A’s took the third game of the series 6-3 over the Blue Jays. The club now improves to 66-50 on the season. Manager Bob Melvin earned his 700 win of managerial career, but the team remains one game behind the Texas Rangers (68-50) in the AL West standings.
Starter A.J. Griffin issued a career high six walks, yet managed to work through 5.2 innings allowing 5 hits and 3 runs, of which two were earned. Surprisingly, Griffin who entered the day having given up an MLB-leading 28 home runs, didn’t allow any long balls on the day.
R.A. Dickey, who took the hill for the Blue Jays, had his knuckleball working as he made it through seven inning and struck out six while allowing three runs. Like Griffin, though, Dickey has been hurt by home runs in 2013 and in the sixth inning Brandon Moss tagged him for a two-run home run to center field. The drive briefly gave the A’s the lead and was the 26th allowed by Dickey, second only to Griffin.
The Blue Jays struck first as the A’s made a pair of errors in the second inning. Eric Sogard, making his second start of the season at shortstop, flung his throw wide of first base on a potential double-play ball as the Blue Jays opened up an early 1-0 lead.
In the fourth inning, however, the defense actually bailed Griffin out. Coco Crisp ranged deep into left field to make a diving backhanded catch. Then with the base loaded, Griffin got a pop up off the bat of Jose Bautista.
The A’s finally broke through against Dickey in the sixth as Josh Donaldson tied up the game with an RBI single, before Moss put the A’s up 3-1 with his 18th home run of the season. That drive was also the 8th in the first three games of the series for the club.
In the bottom half of the sixth, however, Griffin was unable to produce a shutdown inning. The Blue Jays made it 3-2 when Reyes drove a ground ball down the first base line that Moss couldn’t glove. Then Maicer Izturis knocked Griffin out of the game with a sacrifice fly, which tied the game and meant Griffin would have to settle for a no-decision.
Ryan Cook closed out the sixth inning, and in the eighth Callaspo struck the crucial double off Oliver. Young then pinch hit for Crisp, who left the game with a left wrist injury. Crisp is not expected to be in the lineup on Monday.
In the ninth, Grant Balfour walked the first batter of the inning before ultimately loading the bases. Balfour gave up three walks during the ninth after issuing just three walks in his last 20 outings combined. As a staff, the A’s allowed 11 walks on the day. However, with the bases loaded, and the tying run standing at second, Balfour got Reyes to ground out weakly to second base to secure the A’s 6-4 win.
Tomorrow in the final game of the series Dan Straily (6-6, 4.41 ERA) takes the mound for the A’s. Straily has dropped each of his past four starts, and opposing batters have hit .321 off him during that stretch. The right-hander has also failed to get through five innings in his last three outings.
With first pitch scheduled for 9:37 a.m., J.A. Happ (2-2, 5.84 ERA) gets the call for the Blue Jays. The left-hander allowed 6 runs over four innings in his most recent start.