Fowler hits first career HR, Athletics beat Blue Jays 3-1
TORONTO (AP) Dustin Fowler couldn’t decide which felt better, his first career home run or a tiebreaking hit that led to a win.
Fowler hit his first career homer and added an RBI double in the seventh inning, Josh Phegley doubled home a run in his season debut, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 on Friday night.
In his eighth game since being promoted form Triple-A, Fowler went 2 for 3 with a walk.
”Pretty good night for Dustin, no doubt,” manager Bob Melvin said.
Fowler, one of three players acquired from the New York Yankees last July for pitcher Sonny Gray, hit a leadoff blast to left off Marco Estrada in the third.
His two-out double in the seventh put Oakland in front to stay.
So, which hit was better?
”Both of them are pretty awesome feelings,” Fowler said. ”I’m just showing that I belong and I’m able to hit in big situations.”
Danny Coulombe (1-1) pitched 1 1-3 innings for the victory as Oakland won for the fourth time in five games. The Athletics have won back-to-back games in Toronto after losing their previous six there. It’s the first time they’ve won consecutive games in Canada since Aug. 11-12, 2013.
Estrada (2-4) allowed three runs in 6 2-3 innings to lose his third straight decision as the slumping Blue Jays lost for the 10th time in 13 home games.
”If we’re pitching, we’re not hitting,” Estrada said. ”If we’re hitting, we’re not pitching. Plain and simple, we’ve just got to play a little bit better.”
For the second straight game, an injury forced Oakland to make an early call to the bullpen. Left-hander Brett Anderson lasted one inning before leaving because of a strained shoulder.
”It’s frustrating,” Anderson said. ”Even though I gave up a couple of hits in the first, my stuff felt good.”
On Thursday, right-hander Andrew Triggs left after 2 1-3 innings because of nerve irritation in his hand and arm.
Josh Lucas, one of two right-handers recalled from Triple-A before the game, replaced Anderson and struck out five of the first six batters he faced. Lucas allowed one run and two hits in 3 2-3 innings.
”We had a lot of contributions tonight, but none more than Josh Lucas,” Melvin said. ”You need someone to go into that fifth inning. He did exactly that. That was a godsend for us.”
Lucas and fellow newcomer Emilio Pagan barely made it to the ballpark for first pitch after getting stuck in heavy traffic on their way downtown after arriving at the airport.
”Traffic was crazy,” Lucas said. ”We were like, `We might not even make first pitch.’ We got here just in time to get dressed.”
Toronto tied it on an RBI single by Gio Urshela in the fifth, but Oakland chased Estrada with three straight two-out doubles in the seventh, including run-scoring hits by Fowler and Phegley.
All seven hits off Estrada were for extra bases – six doubles and Fowler’s homer.
NEW SORE SPOT
The oft-injured Anderson has dealt with back and elbow injuries before, but never a sore shoulder.
”It’s one of the few body parts I haven’t hurt until today,” he said.
Toronto’s 15 strikeouts were a season high for a nine inning game. The Blue Jays had struck out 12 times in five previous games.
Athletics: Oakland optioned RHP Ryan Dull to Triple-A Nashville and placed Triggs on the 10-day disabled list. … 3B Matt Chapman was held out of the starting lineup for the first time this season. Chapman came on to play defense in the eighth.
Blue Jays: Toronto placed LHP Jaime Garcia (shoulder) on the 10-day disabled list and recalled RHP Deck McGuire from Triple-A Buffalo. RHP Sam Gaviglio will start Saturday in place of injured RHP Marcus Stroman (shoulder), and RHP Joe Biagini will take Garcia’s turn Sunday. … OF Teoscar Hernandez (sore back) missed his second straight game.
Athletics: LHP Sean Manaea (5-4, 2.35) has allowed four runs in each of his past three starts after allowing six totals runs over his first six starts.
Blue Jays: Gaviglio (1-0, 2.08) will be making his first start with Toronto after two relief appearances. He made 13 big league starts in 2017, 11 for Seattle and two for Kansas City.
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