TORONTO — Toronto’s potent offense pounded the ball nearly every time Drew Hutchison was pitching last season.
They did it again in his first start of 2016.
Jose Bautista hit a two-run homer, Ezequiel Carrera added a solo shot and the Blue Jays beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 on Sunday.
Josh Donaldson scored twice for Toronto. The Blue Jays, the highest-scoring team in the majors last year, have posted at least five runs for a season-best three games in a row.
Last year, the Blue Jays averaged a whopping 7.9 runs per game in Hutchison’s 28 starts.
“He brings out the best in the offense,” manager John Gibbons said. “We always score, so he’s also a good luck charm.”
Recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to make a spot start as Toronto gave its rotation an extra day of rest, Hutchison (1-0) allowed two runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings.
“I felt I was a little off, to be honest,” the right-hander said. “I wasn’t real sharp, but I made some big pitches when I needed to.”
Still sore over his demotion to the minors at the end of spring training, Hutchison wasn’t interested in assessing the offensive support he’s regularly received.
“I’m well aware of what our offense can do,” he said tersely.
Although Hutchison is expected to be sent back to Buffalo this week, he made an impression on the Athletics.
“He threw me some nasty changeups, I can tell you that,” Oakland catcher Stephen Vogt said.
Jesse Chavez and Brett Cecil each got two outs, Drew Storen worked the eighth and Roberto Osuna finished for his sixth save.
Chris Coghlan, Khris Davis and Josh Reddick each hit solo home runs for the Athletics, who lost their second in a row after winning the previous six.
“Obviously we’re frustrated but we’re 4-2 on this road trip and we’re looking to finish it above .500 in Detroit,” Vogt said.
Eric Surkamp (0-2) allowed six runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. The left-hander is winless in four starts this season.
Manager Bob Melvin would not guarantee the safety of Surkamp’s spot in the rotation.
“We look at things after every series,” Melvin said when asked whether Surkamp would make a fifth start. “We’ll put our heads together and see what we think going into the next one.”
Davis led off the second with a homer to center to put Oakland up 1-0, but Surkamp couldn’t hold the lead for long.
Carrera tied it with a leadoff drive in the third and Toronto scored three more runs in the bat-around inning. Justin Smoak, Kevin Pillar and Darwin Barney all drove in runs with two-out singles.
“The middle of that order is probably the best in baseball,” Surkamp said. “Just a tough lineup when you’re not on top of your game.”
Bautista snapped a 0-for-11 slump when he connected off Surkamp in the fourth for his fourth home run.
Hutchison left to a standing ovation one out after Reddick’s solo drive in the sixth.
DONALDSON’S HARDWARE HAUL
On the day he was honored with his own bobblehead doll, Donaldson was presented in a pregame ceremony with his Silver Slugger award and Player’s Choice Awards for 2015 Player of the Year and AL Outstanding Player. Donaldson’s mother, Lisa French, threw her son the ceremonial first pitch.
Oakland has lost eight of its past nine games in Toronto.
Athletics: 2B Jed Lowrie (calf) was held out of the starting lineup for the first time this season. Tyler Ladendorf started for Oakland.
Blue Jays: C Russell Martin was scratched from the lineup and replaced by Josh Thole. Martin left Friday’s game after five innings with neck spasms but played Saturday. … OF Michael Saunders (hamstring) missed his third straight game.
Athletics: RHP Kendall Graveman (1-1, 2.04) will face Tigers RHP Jordan Zimmermann (3-0, 0.00) on Monday as Oakland begins a three-game series at Detroit. Graveman snapped a career-worst six-game losing streak by beating the Yankees last Wednesday.
Blue Jays: RHP Marcus Stroman (3-0, 4.13) gets the start against the Chicago White Sox in the opener of a three-game series on Monday night. Stroman allowed five runs while getting two outs in a 2014 road loss to the White Sox. RHP Miguel Gonzalez will start for Chicago.MLB