Blue Jays blow it in 9th, losing 7-3 to Athletics

Francisco Cordero walked off the mound with his head down as the

Oakland Athletics celebrated behind him. A few more endings like

that and Cordero knows he might not be closing close games for the

Toronto Blue Jays anymore.

Newcomer Brandon Inge hit a game-ending grand slam to cap a

five-run ninth inning rally that led Oakland to a 7-3 victory over

Toronto on Tuesday night.

”You can say it’s been frustrating,” Cordero said. ”You got a

team that keeps battling back, comes back and take the lead and

gave me the ball in the ninth inning and I just blew it again. It’s

my third blown save in a row. I have to pitch better or I’m going

to find myself either out of that situation or maybe out of the

team. I have to do my job. It doesn’t matter how but I have to do

it or I’m not going to have a job at all.”

The Blue Jays took the lead in the top of the ninth off Grant

Balfour (1-1) when Eric Thames hit a leadoff triple and scored on

Kelly Johnson’s two-out single before the A’s rallied to win it in

the bottom half, handing Cordero his third blown save in his past

four appearances.

Manager John Farrell said it was too soon after the game to

consider changing closers, but said Cordero needs to do a better

job putting hitters away.

”The three outs in the ninth are pretty tough for us right

now,” he said.

Michael Taylor, who struck out his first three at-bats, hit an

opposite-field fly that landed just inside the right-field line for

a leadoff double off Francisco Cordero (1-2) and went to third on

Jemile Weeks’ sacrifice. Cliff Pennington followed with an RBI

single to right field to tie the game.

Pennington stole second and Cordero intentionally walked Josh

Reddick. After a passed ball advanced the runners, Cordero

intentionally walked Jonny Gomes. Inge then ended it with a drive

into the left-field seats. It was his seventh career game-ending

homer and the first game-ending slam for Oakland since Mark Ellis

did it June 8, 2008, against the Angels.

”I don’t think I made any good pitches tonight,” Cordero said.

”The only good pitch I made, it went up the line for a double.

It’s hard for me to explain what’s going on but like I said, I have

to make better pitches, I have to get people out or I won’t have a

job at all.”

It was quite the welcome to Inge, who joined the Athletics on

their recent East Coast trip and was playing his first home game

with the team. He was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and hit into one

double play before delivering the biggest blow of the night.

”I’m so happy here right now,” Inge said. ”I fit in. It’s a

new start for me. I welcomed it. I know we have a young ballclub,

but they can play. I’m honored to be a part of this ballclub and

trying to help them win. That’s what feels the best.”

The A’s returned from a successful 5-4 East Coast road trip to a

dose of bad news. Opening day starter Brandon McCarthy had to be

skipped in the rotation because of a sore right shoulder and then

cleanup hitter Yoenis Cespedes was scratched about an hour before

the game after injuring the back of his left hand in batting

practice. Cespedes will have an X-ray and MRI on Wednesday.

The teams traded two-run homers in the first five innings with

Johnson connecting with his seventh of the season in the second for

Toronto off Jarrod Parker and Reddick answering with his

team-leading sixth in the fifth inning for Oakland against Ricky

Romero.

NOTES: Romero allowed two runs, five hits and five walks with

seven strikeouts in six innings. … Six of Johnson’s seven homers

have either tied the game or given Toronto the lead. … A’s

reliever Ryan Cook pitched a perfect eighth and has allowed only

three hits with 15 strikeouts in 15 2-3 scoreless innings this

season. … McCarthy was pushed back to Saturday against Detroit

after complaining of a sore shoulder after Sunday’s bullpen

session. He will throw a bullpen session Thursday to see if he will

make his next start. … The series finale Wednesday features a

matchup of former college teammates at California when Tyson Ross

takes the mound for Oakland against Toronto’s Brandon Morrow. The

two were teammates at Cal in 2006.