The A’s entered Wednesday night 13-0 this season when leading after the sixth inning, with nine saves, none blown. Those marks tumbled to a close as a five-run Blue Jays eighth inning vaulted Toronto to a 9-4 win.
Lou Trivino had been the most consistent arm in the A’s bullpen but he was bound to have a bad night. Unfortunately that night came on Cinco De Mayo. The Blue Jays (15-14) scored five runs off three singles in an ugly eighth. Chris Bassitt allowed four singles in his first inning but just two runs in seven. Toronto scored all nine runs in three different innings. A two-run first, five in the eighth, then two more in the ninth.
Chris Bassitt took the mound wearing high-knee pants with yellow and green striped socks, and started the game with a strikeout to former teammate Marcus Semien. But four straight singles followed and the Blue Jays led 2-0 in the first. What could have been a double play to end the inning ended up a single due to some middle-infield lack of communication between Jed Lowrie and Elvis Andrus.
Bassitt and the infield had a rough first but kept the Blue Jays scoreless from the second inning through the eighth, when Trivino (L, 1-1, 4.15 ERA) entered. Bassitt finished with a perfect seventh and reminded everyone on Thursday night the kind of pitcher he is and has been all season.
Ramón Laureano hit a solo blast to put the A’s (19-13_ on the board in the first inning and it was 2-1 until Matt Chapman hit a line drive bomb in the fourth to tie the game 2-2. Laureano led off the sixth with a standing double which made him 3-for-3, and Matt Olson advanced him to third when he grounded out to the right-side shift.
With one out, Sean Murphy — making his first major-league start at DH — hit a bloop ball to give the A’s their first lead of the game. The Blue Jays infield was standing on the edge of the infield grass and the ball landed on the edge of the outfield grass in shallow center. Had they been in their normal positions, it would have been a tied ball game with two outs; instead, it was 3-2.
Robbie Ray threw six full innings where he allowed three runs off six hits. Laureano had half of the allowed hits and was a triple away from a cycle. Ray struck out nine and didn’t walk a batter.
Jordan Romano (W, 3-1, 2.35 ERA) pitched a perfect seventh to the bottom three A’s batters. Romano put up all zero’s but the A’s bullpen couldn’t do the same. The A’s added one run after Romano exited, but that was all they could do.
Trivino relieved Bassitt in the eighth, walking the No. 9 Toronto batter and it didn’t get any prettier. Semien singled to left, and when Chapman and Andrus went for the ball, they both backed off the ball and neither got it. Bo Bichette hit a ball up the middle, and Lowrie flipped the ball to Andrus, who made the throw to first but Bichette was safe.
The A’s finally had one out with runners on the corners, but had the double play turned smoothly, it would have been a different story for Trivino. Austin Allen allowed a ball right under his glove to tie the game 3-3, but the official ruling was a wild pitch. Teoscar Hernández stepped up to the plate with runners on first and second but by the time he singled to left, Bichette had stolen third and bolted home as soon as he heard contact. The Blue Jays took a 4-3 lead, and Grichuk followed with an almost identical line drive to left to make it 5-3.
LHP Adam Kolarek tried to get the final two outs of the three-run eighth inning. He entered the game with Trivino’s runners on the corners and faced lefty Cavan Biggio who hit a sacrifice fielders choice RBI. Kolarek decided to throw home after an impressive barehanded catch, but not a single out was made on the play and a run scored to make it 6-3. Kolarek threw a wild pitch before Vladimir Gurriel Jr. singled to make it 7-3. The final out came from Laureano, who sprinted to catch a line drive and it was obvious he was ready to get out of the inning. Kolarek lasted two-thirds of an inning and, other than the wild pitch, put up zeroes.
David Phelps pitched the eighth inning for Toronto with a four-run cushion. He got two outs but walked Matt Olson before designated hitter Murphy hit a hard line drive to the right-center wall for a double to make it 7-4. Olson scored from first and it was a close call, but catcher Danny Jansen dropped the ball. Olson may or may not touched home plate but the ball came out.
Jordan Weems pitched the ninth inning and struggled to find command of his fastball. He walked the first two batters he faced, then Bichette hit a double play ball but was safe at first to put runners on the corners. Guerrero Jr. had his second hit of the game, doubling over Canha’s head in left to bring in two runs for the 9-4 final. Weems picked up a strikeout in the ninth but allowed two runs off one hit.
Mike Fiers (0-1, 4.50 ERA) will make his second start of the season for the final four-game series against the Blue Jays. Toronto has yet to announce their starting pitcher for Thursday, first pitch is set for 12:37 p.m.
Austin Allen made his 2021 debut as catcher and made a great throw to Matt Chapman who tagged out stealing Randal Grichuk to end the sixth inning. … Sean Murphy made his first start as a major league designated hitter and drove in two of the A’s four runs. … Jed Lowrie snapped his 3-game multiple hit streak Wednesday when he went 0-for-3 with a walk. … The Oakland A’s could have been the first team in baseball to win 20 games but will have to try again on Thursday.