OAKLAND COLISEUM — The Oakland A’s slugged their way into a tie for the best record in baseball with a 9-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night.
Yoenis Cespedes had three hits including his first home run at the Coliseum in over two months and had three RBIs. Josh Reddick — who also drove in three runs — says that Cespedes is starting to hit his stride offensively:
“After yesterday’s game, you get some lucky rolls, or you hit one in the sun … you get a little more confidence boost after that, and I think that’s what it takes to get things going … we know he’s got the skill to succeed at this level, and sometimes it takes that little bloop that they can’t see to fall in for you to get going.”
The run support was more than enough for A.J. Griffin who pitched seven innings, giving up four runs on four hits, walked two, striking out five. Griffin (10-7, 3.90 ERA) has won four of his last five decisions.
Oakland wasted no time jumping all over Toronto starter Esmil Rogers (3-5, 4.16 ERA).
Coco Crisp led off the bottom of the first with a walk, Eric Sogard reached on an error by Edwin Encarnacion, and Jed Lowrie singled in Crisp. Cespedes tripled to bring in two more runs, and Reddick hit a sacrifice fly to score Cespedes. And just like that, it was 4-0 Athletics.
The offense piled it on adding runs on RBI doubles by Seth Smith in the third, (snapping an 0-for-30 skid for Smith), and a two-run double by Reddick and an RBI single by Stephen Vogt in the fifth.
Cespedes also ended a drought of his own by crushing an eighth-inning home run down the left-field line. Prior to Monday, it had been a career-high 25 games since Cespedes’ last homered.
Staked to a 5-0 cushion, Griffin was perfect through 4-1/3 innings, but Toronto eventually broke through on Griffin’s weakness – the long ball. He’s given up a major-league leading 26 home runs so far this season, and Toronto used them to get on the board on Monday.
Adam Lind broke up the perfect game, no-hitter, and shutout with one swing of the bat, as he launched a solo shot to left-center with one out in the fifth.
Brett Lawrie led off the sixth with one of his own, and, after a walk to Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista hit a two-run shot off of Griffin. Griffin threw 99 pitches in seven innings of work, walking two and striking out five on his way to his tenth win of the year.
Despite giving up three home runs on four hits, Griffin was pleased with his outing:
“We’re always talking about results, but the process was pretty good today. I felt good, I felt strong. The way the game was going kind of dictated the way I was pitching. And I know we’ve see me give up a few homers, but we’re gonna do our best to try to get back on track and throw up zeroes.”
Oakland is now holding steady to a six-game lead in the American League West and is tied with Tampa Bay for the best record in the majors. The A’s are also a season-high 20 games over .500. But manager Bob Melvin isn’t too concerned with having the best record in baseball:
A’s manager Bob Melvin
Video: CSN California
“The good thing about the record is that we’ve been consistent every month, and continue to be in July. That was something we were striving to be as a team….so far this year, in each and every month, I think we’ve been pretty close to the same amount of wins. You keep trying to pile up the wins, you add them up at the end, and see where you’re at.”
Right now, where they’re at is a pretty good place to be.
The A’s scored nine runs on 11 hits and still left 10 men on base. … Cespedes hadn’t homered at the Coliseum since May 19. … Josh Donaldson ended an 0-for-17 skid, tying his career high hitless streak. … This is the first time the A’s and Blue Jays have played one another this season. The only team Oakland has yet to play is Minnesota. … Rogers allowed a season-high eight runs (six earned) and is 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA (20 earned runs, 28 innings) over his last five starts.