OAKLAND — On the same day that starting pitcher Aaron Brooks and the rest of the Oakland Athletics celebrated Khris Davis’ contract extension — one that keeps the most prolific home run hitter in Major League Baseball over the past three years and change in Oakland — it was the Toronto Blue Jays who broke out their bats.
In the first of a three-game series, the Blue Jays knocked Brooks around for a season-high-tying five runs on six hits and two walks in the 5-1 loss, the second time this month he’s allowed five runs (April 6 at Houston). Meanwhile, Marcus Stroman held Oakland down over eight innings. Both starters allowed six hits, but Oakland never was able to string more than two together.
“They strung some baserunners on and made him work a little harder,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We just couldn’t do enough off of Stroman today.”
Brooks had a routine first inning, sitting the Jays down in order, but what started to look like a second straight solid start for the right-hander got ugly in the second. Justin Smoak led off the inning with a double, and after Teoscar Hernandez walked and Billy McKinney singled, Socrates Brito hit a single to right to start the scoring for Toronto, bringing home Smoak. Danny Jansen doubled on the following at-bat to score Hernandez. Then, Eric Sogard, taking on his old team, singled to right to score Brito. Brito’s hit snapped an 23-at-bat hitless streak he carried into Friday night’s game.
In all, Brooks threw 30 of his 91 pitches in the second.
“I just wasn’t getting ahead of hitters,” Brooks said of his outing. “It’s a lot easier to hit as a hitter when you’re ahead 1-0, 2-0 all the time. I just didn’t have everything working today and tried to nibble and take a little bit too much and fell behind a lot of guys.”
Things went from bad to worse when Brandon Drury launched a solo home run to left to leadoff the fourth inning to make it 5-1.
“As a starter, our job is to go out there and keep our team in the game as long as possible. I tried to do that today,” said Brooks, who has yet to pitch past the sixth inning this season.. “With our heavy lineup, four runs, on most days, is not a big deal for our lineup, but you know, it’s a momentum game as well, and when they get a nice four-run inning, it kinds of puts a damper on our team.”
Yusemiro Petit took over for Brooks in the sixth, and tossed a pair of innings, allowing just one hit with two strikeouts.
The A’s lone run came in the first inning on Matt Chapman’s RBI double to deep center, scoring Marcus Semien from first after he hit a one-out single. They tried to rally in the ninth as Kendrys Morales lined a double to center, but after he reached third on a groundout by Jurickson Profar, Ramon Laureano struck out looking on a 2-2 fastball up in the zone to end the game.
Laureano and home plate umpire Laz Diaz shared a few words before Laureano left for the clubhouse.
“He was just upset that he called a ball to end the game,” Melvin explained.
Afterwards in the clubhouse, Laureano said that he’s leaving the past in the past.
“I don’t care already, it’s already in the past,” Laureano said. “Tomorrow we have a game and we just focus on the present. I don’t remember what he said to be honest.”
As for the man of the evening himself, Davis’ bat seemed to miss the party. Davis went 0-for-4 at the plate, grounding out to first in the first inning, striking out swinging in the fourth and the sixth innings, and going down looking in the eighth.
The loss is the A’s third in the last four games as Oakland continues to slide after winning four in row, including a sweep at the Baltimore Orioles last week. They’ll take on Toronto on Saturday at 1:07 p.m, as Mike Fiers takes the mound for the A’s against Matt Shoemaker.