OAKLAND — Josh Donaldson skied a 10th-inning home run beyond the left-center field wall on Wednesday afternoon, wrecking the Oakland Athletics’ chances of sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays.
In the club’s 7-5 loss, all seven of Toronto’s runs came via the long ball. Donaldson, the ex-A’s star, and Justin Smoak went deep back-to-back in the 10th. Frankie Montas was on the hook for both blasts as the rookie right-hander has now served up nine home runs in 21 outings. Donaldson’s drive came on a 97.5 mph four seamer that Montas put right in the heart of the strike zone.
“He’s got a good fastball,” manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s proud of his heater but when you leave it in the middle of the plate against some big league hitters, they’re going to turn it around.”
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For Smoak, the homer was his second of the day. The Blue Jays first baseman also hit a shot in the second — five batters before Kevin Pillar connected on a three-run homer off Jharel Cotton.
For the A’s right-hander, the four-run barrage was the only trouble Cotton ran into. Making his third start since returning from a spell in Triple-A, Cotton only allowed one other hit the rest of the way, working six innings and totaling four strikeouts.
“He’s had some innings where he gets a little bogged down [and] throws a bunch of pitches,” Melvin explained. “I think he faced — what was it? Seven or eight hitters that inning? And then has a way of finding it.”
“It’s good for a younger guy like that that he can find it a little bit later and pitch deeper into the game with no more damage,” Melvin added.
At the plate, Rajai Davis was the star of the day in the matinee loss. The center fielder collected his 10th four-hit game of his career, doubling twice to go with a single and a triple.
“He was squaring it up,” Melvin said. “Good swings. Got on base. After a couple times up, he had some good swings. He’s been struggling a little bit lately and he just kind of played that momentum that he had.”
Melvin on Healy: ‘The ceiling is very high for him’
After a recent game, Ryon Healy mentioned that he doesn’t yet feel like he’s reached his full potential. His manager was encouraged by the assessment, noting that Healy, still in his first full season, has already tallied 26 homers in 130 games.
“That production is about as good as you get for a guy that hasn’t even played a full year yet,” Melvin said. “Maybe he’s talking about his defense. I thought he did a nice job for us last year and now he has to move around, which is a difficult [thing] for a younger player to have to do.”
Bouncing between the designated hitter’s role, third base and first, Healy has struggled with his glove and his arm, committing nine errors in 29 games in the field.
“You’re never going to be at your best right when you get to the big leagues,” Melvin said. “But the start that he’s had has been phenomenal, which means the ceiling is very high for him.”frankie montasjharel cottonJosh DonaldsonMLBOakland AthleticsRajai DavisToronto Blue Jays