Bautista homers, Blue Jays run win streak to 9 with victory over A’s
Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Drew Hutchison reached a place he hadn’t been in almost three months: the eighth inning.
Jose Bautista hit a solo home run, Hutchison pitched seven strong innings and the streaking Blue Jays won their ninth consecutive game, beating the Oakland Athletics 4-2 on Tuesday night.
It’s the first time in Blue Jays history they have recorded two winning streaks of at least nine games in a season. The Blue Jays won a season-high 11 straight in June.
Hutchison (11-2) allowed two runs and four hits in seven-plus innings. The right-hander hadn’t completed seven innings since a complete-game victory over the Chicago White Sox on May 25.
"I executed better pitches tonight," Hutchison said. "I was down in the zone and elevated when I wanted to."
Toronto starting pitchers have held the opposition to three earned runs or fewer in 15 consecutive games.
Oakland’s Marcus Semien said Hutchison "got quick outs when he needed to" against the last-place Athletics, who had won three straight.
"I had one at-bat where I got 0-2 pretty quick and it seemed like he had the ability to do that all night," Semien said.
Hutchison is 9-1 with a 2.68 ERA in 12 home starts and 2-1 with a 9.00 ERA in 11 road outings.
"He’s been kind of the whipping boy around here lately," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "For him to step up like that, it’s big."
After the first two Oakland batters singled in the third, Hutchison got Coco Crisp to ground into a double play, starting a streak in which he set down 14 of 15.
"It’s pretty fun to watch when he gets like that," Toronto’s Chris Colabello said.
Hutchison left to a standing ovation after Semien’s infield single to begin the eighth inning. Aaron Sanchez came on and surrendered an RBI single to Billy Burns but escaped by striking out Crisp looking and getting Josh Reddick on a comebacker.
Roberto Osuna finished for his 11th save.
The Blue Jays thought they had turned a double play to end the top of the first but a replay challenge showed Reddick beat out shortstop Troy Tulowitzki’s relay throw. Former Toronto infielder Danny Valencia followed with an RBI double past a diving Kevin Pillar in center, giving the Athletics a 1-0 lead.
Oakland’s run snapped a stretch of 26 consecutive scoreless innings by Blue Jays pitchers, a streak that began in the third inning of Friday’s 10-inning victory over the New York Yankees.
It also marked the first time Toronto had trailed since the second inning of their Aug. 5 game against Minnesota, a 44-inning stretch.
Oakland wasn’t in front for long. Colabello opened the Blue Jays second with a double that bounced over the head of Crisp in left, then scored on a throwing error by shortstop Semien, his ML-leading 30th.
"As I caught it I was bobbling the ball and never really got a good grip," Semien said. "Right now I’m just taking this one kind of hard."
Justin Smoak followed with an RBI double, Pillar reached on Eric Sogard’s fielding error and Ryan Goins made it 3-1 with a grounder.
"That might be the worst inning we’ve played this year," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said.
Bautista made it 4-1 with a two-out homer into the second deck in the fifth, his 27th. Toronto has homered in 10 consecutive games and 22 of 23 since the All-Star break.
Oakland right-hander Kendall Graveman (6-8) allowed four runs, two earned, and five hits in 4 2/3 innings. Graveman is winless in six starts.
BACK ON THE MOUND
Blue Jays RHP Marcus Stroman threw off a mound Tuesday for the first time since tearing knee ligaments in spring training. The Blue Jays hope Stroman, who’s scheduled to begin a minor-league rehab assignment on Aug. 21, will have time to get stretched out and return as a starter in September. Stroman will throw again Friday.
Athletics: DH Billy Butler was not in the starting lineup for the third straight game.
Blue Jays: 1B Edwin Encarnacion (left middle finger) sat out his second straight game. He is day to day.
Athletics: RHP Aaron Brooks (1-0, 2.41 ERA) will make his third start for Oakland since being acquired in a trade with Kansas City. He’s 1-0 with a 1.26 ERA in two starts with the Athletics.
Blue Jays: RHP R.A. Dickey (6-10, 3.93 ERA) will move up a day to start Wednesday, pushing Mark Buehrle back a day and giving the veteran left-hander six days off between starts. Toronto is 4-0 in Dickey’s past four starts, and he’s lowered his ERA by .60 in that span.