With the bases loaded and the score tied 1-1 in the ninth inning, Alberto Callaspo came to the plate. Just moments earlier the third baseman, who was filling in for Josh Donaldson, clanked a potential double-play ball that allowed the Toronto Blue Jays to tie the game.
A day after driving the go-ahead two-run double to left field as a right-handed batter, the switch-hitting infielder wrapped another two-run, two-base hit. This time the go-ahead double came left-handed, and went to right field. The A’s would tack on two more runs off Casey Janssen, the closer for the Blue Jays as they won 5-1.
The A’s finished the road trip 3-3 after losing the first two games to the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark. The club now sits at 67-50, while the Texas Rangers are 69-50.
Dan Straily, who had lost his last four outings entering the contest, was on top of his game as he threw 7.1 innings allowing six hits, three walks and one unearned run. The right-hander, who struck out five, and who now leads AL Rookies with 85, didn’t get the win though, as the club would need to rally late.
J.A. Happ, who was making just his second start for the Blue Jays since May 7 when he fractured his skull, was also quite sharp. The left-hander worked through seven innings as he struck out six. Happ allowed just one run on three hits, but unfortunately for him, one of those hits was a long home run off the bat of Chris Young to lead off the game.
Young was in the lineup in the place of Coco Crisp, who is nursing a left wrist injury. On the tenth pitch of the first at-bat of the game, Young connected on his 10th home run of the season as he lifted the ball into the second deck at the Rogers Centre. Young became the sixth A’s player with 10 home runs or more.
Happ would settle in after allowing the first inning shot, and the next scoring wouldn’t come until the eighth inning when Straily worked himself into trouble. With runners on the corners and just one out, manager Bob Melvin brought in ground ball specialist Ryan Cook to get the A’s out of the jam.
Bautista hit the ground ball the A’s had been looking for, but Callaspo was unable to field it, as the tying run scored, and Straily lost his chance to claim the win.
In the next frame, however, Callaspo struck the crucial double as he is now 7-for-13 in his past five games. The A’s would get two more runs thanks to an RBI single and a sacrifice fly from Stephen Vogt and Eric Sogard respectively. Sean Doolittle then struck out a pair of Blue Jays to close out the win as the A’s took three of four from the Blue Jays.
The team now heads back to Oakland to begin a three-game set with Houston Astros (37-79) who trail the first-place Rangers by 30 games. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday night from the O.co Coliseum as Bartolo Colon (14-4, 2.75 ERA) gets the call for the A’s.
The right-hander is coming off his worst start in 2013, as he he allowed five runs on seven hits in 2.2 innings of work last Wednesday against the Reds. The outing snapped a stretch of 15 straight starts in which the All-Star pitcher had tossed six innings or more and allowed three runs or fewer. The 40-year-old Colon has consistently lost velocity off his fastball over the past month. That’s a worrisome trend for the club as Colon has thrived throwing his two-seam fastball almost exclusively. Colon is 6-2 with a 3.02 ERA against the Astros in his career, and is 3-0 in 2013.
Jordan Lyles (4-6, 5.40 ERA) takes the mound for the Astros.The right-hander has allowed 24 runs in his past four outings, and is just 1-5 in his last 10 starts. He last won a game on June 18.
In other news, Adam Rosales has been claimed on waivers by the Rangers for the second time in as many weeks. The A’s had hoped to send Rosales to Triple-A Sacramento, but Texas has now blocked the move twice. Rosales’ second go-around with the Rangers, though, could be just as brief as his three-day stint last weekend. The Rangers will need to clear a roster spot for Lance Berkman, perhaps as soon as Friday. Rosales has already been designated for assignment four times on the season.