Blue Jays 5, Athletics 2
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)
Blue Jays manager John Farrell shuffled things around before the game and apparently served as a little bit of much-needed fuel for his lineup.
Adam Lind hit a two-run homer after being demoted from the cleanup spot to eighth in the order, and J.P. Arencibia and Edwin Encarnacion each hit solo drives to lead Toronto past the Oakland Athletics 5-2 on Wednesday.
''Adam responded well to the move in the lineup,'' Farrell said. ''It was just nice to score some runs.''
Brandon Morrow (4-1) struck out a season-high 10 in six innings and won his fourth straight start, outpitching Tyson Ross in a matchup of former college stars from nearby California who were 2006 teammates. The Blue Jays right-hander went 23 2-3 innings without allowing a run before Jonny Gomes hit an RBI single in the fifth.
Arencibia homered leading off the seventh, this time coming through with a key hit in a close game. Farrell lifted him for pinch-hitter Omar Vizquel with the go-ahead run on third in the ninth inning of Tuesday night's 7-3 loss - so delivering this time had to be a nice boost.
Encarnacion started the eighth with his 10th homer, ending an 0-for-21 funk and helping Toronto snap a three-game skid on the heels of a four-game winning streak. Colby Rasmus had an RBI single in the sixth that chased Ross (1-3).
Oakland didn't generate much offense against Morrow, but received good news after the game that cleanup hitter Yoenis Cespedes has only a strain on the top of his left hand and not a break.
He was scratched about an hour before Tuesday's game after injuring the hand in batting practice. He might try to hit Thursday before the opener of a four-game series with the Detroit Tigers to determine his availability.
''I am very happy to know it is not a significant injury,'' Cespedes said.
Five of Morrow's Ks came on called third strikes and he owns a sparkling 0.67 ERA during the four-start winning streak, allowing two earned runs over 27 2-3 innings.
He wasn't happy with four walks - half of his eight total coming into this start. He had walked only one batter over his previous three outings.
''I wasn't as sharp as I have been. I walked too many guys and it hurt me in the fifth. I didn't have a good slider today and that probably affected things. My stuff was still good,'' he said. ''It's always fun to come here. I always have family and friends who show up. I got a few texts from my coaches at Cal and then there are friends who show up unannounced.''
The Blue Jays bounced back after losing the opener of the quick two-game series on Brandon Inge's game-ending grand slam against Francisco Cordero, who was demoted from his closer job before Wednesday's game. Handed the ninth-inning duties by Farrell, Casey Janssen finished with a 1-2-3 ninth for his first save in two tries this year.
''I tried to treat it like any other inning. My heart was going hard but that's a good thing,'' Janssen said. ''I wanted to attack the zone and make them earn everything. I've done it before. By no means am I a veteran of the ninth, but I do have experience. You love pitching in those situations. I've felt I really haven't contributed much this year and now I have the opportunity to make more of an impact.''
Farrell also dropped Lind to the eighth hole in the batting order to try to generate some offense. Lind - who came in hitless in seven at-bats, with just two hits in his past 29 at-bats and mired in a 5-for-37 funk overall - singled in the second and put his team ahead with a two-run drive into the right-field bleachers.
Ross was done after 5 2-3 innings, tagged for three runs and five hits. He struck out three and walked three as Oakland's three-game winning streak ended.
''I was a little shaky in the first but found that rhythm and settled in a little bit,'' Ross said.
A's catcher Kurt Suzuki had a scheduled day off, but the timing was good considering he got hit in the left hand and then also the thumb Tuesday night.
''It's a little sore, but when aren't you sore?'' Suzuki said.
NOTES: The A's dropped to 5-2 in May. ... Oakland's Jemile Weeks and Cliff Pennington pulled off a double steal in the first. ... A's opening-day starter Brandon McCarthy, skipped in the rotation because of a sore right shoulder, is set to throw a bullpen session Thursday to determine if he can start Saturday vs. Detroit. ''We'll take it step by step,'' pitching coach Curt Young said. ... Toronto returns for a four-game set here Aug. 2-5. That will give Blue Jays INF and former Giants SS Omar Vizquel more time to catch up with pals from San Francisco. He is retiring at the end of the season and relishing each road trip these days. ... Melvin on facing Detroit: ''They're loaded. They're one of the elite teams in the American League.''... Someone chanted ''Barry Zito!'' in the eighth inning. The $126 million Giants LHP won the 2002 AL Cy Young Award while with the A's.