Blue Jays stumble early as A's coast to fourth straight win: Griffin
OAKLAND-Once again, the Jays dug themselves an early hole and were not able to come back, losing 9-4 to the A's at the Coliseum. Blame flying three time zones and playing the next day. Blame the fact the A's are red-hot as winners of four in a row and with a six-game division lead. Blame the defence that once again keyed a big inning via a miscue. Or maybe they're just not very good right now.
“West Coast is never easy,” Gibbons said before the game. “Time change, it throws you out of whack, things like that. Generally, even if you're having great years, it can be a tester.”
The Jays were 3-7 on the just-completed homestand and the schedule is being whittled away daily. They are 14.5 games behind in the division and 10 games back of the second wild-card ahead of only three teams in the AL. But Gibbons insists they're not looking ahead to next year quite yet.
“We're not at the point yet where we're looking at next year,” he said. “It's going to take some kind of tremendous run to get us back in this thing, but you never know what happens. I don't see a change in attitude in the guys. They're all disappointed. They all realize we haven't lived up to expectations. I don't necessarily see a change in the clubhouse. It's going to take a serious run.”
The Jays opening inning against the A's had a very familiar feel for manager John Gibbons, allowing four runs to an opponent and putting his team in a huge hole. The same thing happened on Saturday against the Astros with Josh Johnson pitching. This time it was Esmil Rogers and this time it said more about the defence than about his starting pitcher.
As he has done in many of his innings in many of his starts, Rogers allowed the leadoff man on base in the first, walking Coco Crisp. That was followed by an Eric Sogard grounder that ate Edwin Encarnacion up at first base. It seemed like coming off 10 straight home games on artificial turf at the Rogers Centre, the slowness of the grounder on grass fooled him squeezing under his glove for an error.
Jed Lowrie then stroked a hard grounder through the hole into right field for a single. Another grounder inside the third base line by Yoenis Cespedes beat a lumbering Melky Cabrera to the corner for a triple. One out later, a walk and a Josh Reddick sacrifice fly gave the A's a four-run lead.
The A's added a fifth run in the third inning on an RBI double by Seth Smith snapping a 30 at-bat hitless streak. Brandon Moss had reached on a single and advanced to second on an athletic defensive play by Brett Lawrie, racing to the bag to field a Josh Donaldson groundball, pumping to second, making a full 360-degree pirouette in foul territory and gunning a one-hop throw to first. Highly unusual, yet highly entertaining.
Rogers, who had seemingly earned his spot in the rotation, emerging from early season bullpen duty for the Jays, has now allowed 20 earned runs in 28 innings, with a 0-1 record.
A's starter and winner A.J. Griffin had retired the first 13 Blue Jays when Adam Lind slammed a home run high to the opposite field in left-centre. But the A's responded in the battom of the fifth on a two-run single by Josh Reddick and a run-scoring hit by Stephen Vogt stretching the lead to seven runs.
But as they are wont to do, the Jays came storming back with three runs in the sixth. Lawrie led off the inning with his eighth homer. After Jose Bautista walked, Encarnacion added home run number 29. Now ranking third in the AL, Edwin has six homers in his last 14 games.
It was left to the Home Run Derby champion, Cespedes to complete ths scoring with his 16th homer, a blast to left field off Brett Cecil in the eighth.