by Charlie O. Mallonee
The Oakland Athletics won their third game in a row over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday by beating the home team 5-4. The A’s won for just the third time this season when trailing after the seventh inning. They did improve to 8-2 in one-run games and now own the best winning percentage in one-run games (.800) in the Major Leagues.
The A’s trailed the Jays 4-0 as they came to the plate in the top of the eighth inning. John Axford replaced Seunghwan Oh on the mound for Toronto. Matt Chapman led off the inning with a walk – never a good thing for a relief pitcher. Khris Davis singled to right moving Chapman up to third. Matt Olson went down on strikes for the first out of the inning. Stephen Piscotty then singled to right driving Chapman home and allowing Davis to advance to third. Piscottly was able to advance to second on a throwing error.
That brought a pitching change as Axford was sent to the showers and Tyler Clippard was sent to the hill to stop the A’s rally.
The first hitter Clippard faced was Dustin Fowler and he hit a fly ball for an out. Jed Lowrie then pinch hit for Jonathan Lucroy and drew a base-on-balls to load the bases. Chad Pinder then stepped into the batter’s box and hit a 1-1 pitch over the right-center field wall for a grand slam home run to give the Athletics a 5-4 lead.
That would be the end of the scoring in the contest and the Athletics would win 5-4.
The win means the A’s have won the series and they will be going for the sweep on Sunday. Oakland is now 6-3 on this road trip facing the best of the East and is 13-13 on the road this season.
In the batter’s box
- Chad Pinder hit his first career grand slam home run that proved to be the game-winning hit versus the Blue Jays on Saturday. This was his fourth home run of the season. Pinder is now hitting .271 with three home runs and nine RBI since coming off the 10-day Disabled List on April 17,
- Stephen Piscotty drove in the first run of the day for Oakland and went 2-for-4 in the game making it his eighth multi-hit game of the season. Piscotty is batting .311 in day games and .215 in night contests.
- Khris Davis went 2-for-4 in the game and hit his ninth double. 12 of Davis’ last 22 hits have gone for extra bases.
- Shortstop Marcus Semien posted his 15th multi-hit game going 2-for-5 with a double on Saturday.
- Gio Urshela hit his first home run as a Blue Jay – a two-run shot in the fifth inning. It was also his first career home run to the opposite field.
- Yangervis Solarte doubled twice and posted an RBI. This was his third multi-extra base hit game this season. He leads the Jays with 27 RBI.
- Justin Smoak went 2-for-3 off Sean Manaea. He is now hitting .333 (19-for-57) versus lefties. Smoak picked up two walks in the game and is now tied for fifth in the American League in walks with 26.
- Kevin Pillar recorded his 20th RBI with a Sacrifice Fly in the fifth inning in his 46th game of the season. He did not record his 20th RBI in 2017 until game 80.
On the hill
- Starter Sean Manaea allowed four runs on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts in his 5.0-innings of work on Saturday. It matched his shortest outing of the year. Manaea has given up four runs in each of his of last four starts.
- Emilio Pagan worked 2.0-innings of relief and earned his first win of the season.
- Blake Treinen closed out the game for Oakland and earned his 10th save of the season for A’s.
- Tyler Clippard had a very, very bad day. He was charged with his first blown save of the year and picked up his first loss of the season as well.
- The Jays used five pitchers who gave up five runs on 10 hits while allowing four walks and striking out 10.
Note: The roof at the Rogers Centre was closed.
The final game of the series will get underway at 10:07 AM PDT with RHP Daniel Mengden (3-4, 3.75) on the mound for Oakland facing the Blue Jays RHP Joe Biagini (0-2, 7.98).