The Oakland A’s fell 5-4 to the Toronto Blue Jays as rookie Sonny Gray keep his club in the game, but the team was let down by shaky defense and less than timely hitting.
Gray, who was not sharp early on, allowed four runs on the day. However, only two were earned as he scattered four hits and three walks over six innings of work. The 23-year-old right-hander, who recorded five strike outs, including two in his final frame, improved noticeably as he pitched deeper into the game.
Blue Jays starter Mark Buerhle was not as crisp as he had been against the A’s at the O.co Coliseum on July 30. On the day, the left-hander went 5.1 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits and 2 two walks as he struck out five.
Josh Reddick added two more home runs as the right fielder now has five in his last eight at-bats after collecting the same total in his first 277 at-bats. The club now sits at 65-50 while the Texas Rangers, who are 66-50, take on the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park at 4:10 p.m. this afternoon.
Gray retired the first batter of the day as Jose Reyes chopped out to first base. However, the Blue Jays claimed an early 2-0 lead as Jose Bautista ripped a line drive home run to left field. Gray had allowed just five home runs all season in Triple-A.
The A’s pulled back a pair of runs in the second inning, though, as Reddick hit his first shot of the day and ninth on the year. In the bottom half of the inning, the Blue Jays reclaimed a 3-2 lead as Gray was hurt by a past ball allowed by Derek Norris. The catcher did go 3-for-4 at the plate with a pair of doubles, but had to exit the game with a back injury in the ninth inning.
In the third inning, the Blue Jays tacked on another run to make it 4-2. The defense once again let down the young starter, as Josh Donaldson made an errant throw on a double-play ball.
The A’s made the score 4-3 in the sixth inning as Nate Freiman hit a towering sacrifice fly to left field, but the team was unable to add anything else as two runners were left stranded.
In the bottom of the seventh, Reyes grabbed a crucial insurance run for the Blue Jays as he golfed a home run into the seats in right field. The home run was the first that Ryan Cook had allowed in 72 games, a streak dating back to August 4, 2012.
Reddick led of the ninth inning with a line drive home run down the line that just barely stayed inside the right field foul pole. The team eventually got the tying run to second base with no outs, but Yoenis Cespedes was unable to get the run home. With Coco Crisp on second base, Stephen Vogt at first and Casey Janssen on the mound, Cespedes chased a big curve ball off the plate that scuffed the dirt as the A’s dropped the second game of the series.
In game three, A.J. Griffin (10-8, 3.91 ERA) takes the mound for the A’s as the Blue Jays send out R.A. Dickey (9-11, 4.49 ERA). Griffin has allowed two home runs or more in each of his past four starts, and in the first two games at the Rogers Centre, the A’s and Blue Jays have clubbed a combined 11 home runs.
Griffin has served up an MLB-leading 28 home runs, which is also the most by an A’s pitcher since Dan Haren in 2006. The 25-year-old right-hander lost his last outing against the Rangers, but picked up the win against the Blue Jays on July 29 at the Coliseum.
For his part, R.A. Dickey has allowed 25 home runs in 2013. The 38-year-old knuckleballer threw six shutout innings against the A’s on the final day of July, but got a no-decision in the Blue Jays eventual 5-2 win.