For a second straight night, the Oakland Athletics ran up the pitch count of an impressive opposing starter. Unlike last night, though, the bullpen did enough to ensure that the offensive patience would lead to a win.
A’s starter Andrew Triggs left in the third inning with forearm nerve discomfort, but Yusmeiro Petit and the rest of the Oakland relievers did their part to lead to a 10-5 series-opening win over the host Toronto Blue Jays.
Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez threw 97 pitches and lasted just one batter into the fifth inning, leaving with a 3-1 deficit. The Blue Jays (22-22) struck first on a Kendrys Morales fielder’s choice in the bottom of the second, but the A’s answered in the third with a Jed Lowrie RBI double and opposite-field two-run homer by Khris Davis.
After walking Lowrie to open the top of the fifth, Sanchez was removed for Seunghwan Oh, and Oakland (22-22) knocked the Korean reliever around. Davis singled — his third of four hits on the night — and Matt Olson followed with his third homer of the week, a three-run shot to make it 6-1. Rookie outfielder Dustin Fowler tacked on another run with an RBI single before the inning ended.
The Blue Jays struck back quickly in the bottom half against Santiago Casilla, entering his third inning of work. Casilla got the final two outs of the third and took care of the fourth with ease, but allowed an RBI double to Justin Smoak in the fifth before Petit was called on to clean up the mess. Though both the runners Petit inherited would score, he didn’t allow any further damage.
Matt Chapman padded the lead with his eighth homer of the year — a two-run shot off former A’s reliever John Axford in the top of the sixth — and Petit needed just six pitches in the bottom half of the inning. He also handled the seventh, allowing just a walk.
Things got interesting in the bottom of the eighth when Ryan Dull couldn’t finish off the inning, and Lou Trivino allowed a single and a bases-loaded walk to cut it to 9-5. Josh Donaldson came up with the bases loaded, but Trivino got him to ground out to end the threat. In all, Donaldson was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
Matt Joyce’s RBI single in the ninth provided another insurance run, and Trivino got the final three outs in order to seal the win.