SEATTLE -- The Cinderella story of the 2012 Oakland Athletics continues to captivate. Fresh off getting swept by the Angels and losing their best pitcher in a freak accident, the A's began a seemingly daunting stretch in which 17 of their next 20 games were on the road. Worse, they had to face a surging Seattle team that boasts three of the hottest pitchers in baseball. It looked like the deck was stacked against the A's. Instead of complaining about the sinister hands they had been dealt, they went all in. They are playing with house money after all.Oakland swept aside the surging Mariners with relative ease. The 4-2 victory on Sunday was highlighted by the pitching of rookie Tommy Milone. With Brandon McCarthy out indefinitely, Milone, 25, is now the oldest pitcher in the starting rotation. He certainly looked like a crafty veteran on Sunday. Not only did he tie a career high with 10 strikeouts, he also tied the Oakland rookie record after earning his 12th win and didn't walk a batter, which tied another Oakland record extending his streak of 14 consecutive games allowing one walk or less. Milone seemed surprised to hear about what he had accomplished. "I didn't know that," he said. "I'm not really trying to break records, I'm just trying to go out there and throw quality games and keep the team in the game. If stuff like that happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it's not something I'm striving for but it is cool if it does." Milone allowed two earned runs in six innings of work. He struck out five of the first six batters he faced and ended each inning he pitched with a strikeout. He was dealing."Are you impressed? 'Yeah,'" Gomes said of Milone. "But at the same time we kind of expect it. He's probably the most consistent pitcher we have."Gomes did a good job deflecting the credit, he is a veteran after all. His fifth inning three-run home run gave the A's the lead and ended up being the game-winning hit. Gomes has done a lot with a limited amount of playing time this season. He has 16 home runs in 83 games. Eight of his homers have come since the All-Star Break and 10 of them have come against lefties like Mariners' starting pitcher Jason Vargas. Yet, Gomes was slightly surprised to see his name in the starting lineup on Sunday. "Coming into today I was joking around with Bob Melvin about why I am even starting today," Gomes said. "He's the last lefty this year that has really given me the biggest headache." Melvin was rewarded for his faith in Gomes. It seems Melvin can do no wrong lately with his managerial maneuvering. Largely because of Gomes' blast, the A's scored four runs on just five hits in the series finale. "We feel like we don't need to string hits together to score runs like we did earlier in the season," Melvin said. "We can do it via the long ball, and do it in a hurry."Speaking of home runs, Josh Donaldson added a solo shot in the ninth inning to give the A's an insurance run. He has six home runs and 24 RBI since being recalled on August 20. The A's bullpen locked down the lead and secured the sweep. They pitched a combined four innings of one-hit shutout baseball. Grant Balfour secured his ninth save in as many chances since retaking the closer's role. Next up is a flight to Los Angeles where the Angels will be waiting. The A's have won three games in a row, but the Angels have won six straight after sweeping the Tigers this weekend. The four-game series between the division rivals could be a pivotal clash with playoff implications. "They did a really good job coming into our place and sweeping us, now we have momentum after this sweep," Milone said. "We'll go in there and battle and they're going to battle. It should be a good series."
TORONTO — Steve Pearce became the latest Blue Jay to hit a game-ending home run.
Pearce hit a tiebreaking grand slam in the 10th inning and Toronto beat the Oakland Athletics 8-4 on Thursday to complete a four-game sweep.
"Hopefully we just keep the ball rolling," Pearce said. "We're getting down to the end of the season so we've got to step it up and this was a great series to get it started."
Oakland reliever Liam Hendriks (3-2) walked the bases loaded with two outs before Pearce hooked a 3-2 pitch down the left field line and into the second deck. The grand slam was the second of his career and first since May 2015.
The Blue Jays won consecutive games on home runs for the first time in team history.
Kendrys Morales, who hit a game-winning homer in the ninth inning Wednesday, had two more home runs Thursday. Morales connected off Sean Manaea in the fifth and added a tying blast off Blake Treinen in the ninth, the 19th multihomer game of his career.
Treinen got the ninth in place of Santiago Casilla, who blew Wednesday's game. The Athletics have blown five of their past six save opportunities.
"We're just having trouble finishing off games," manager Bob Melvin said.
Toronto has hit four game-ending home runs this season, the third-highest total in team history. They hit six in 2011.
Josh Donaldson also homered for Toronto, a solo blast in the first.
Roberto Osuna (3-0) worked one inning for the win.
Marcus Semien had three hits and a walk for the Athletics, who have lost 12 of 13 in Toronto.
In the fifth, one batter after Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was ejected for arguing ball and strikes with home plate umpire Will Little, Stroman and catcher Russell Martin were both tossed. An irate Stroman charged toward home plate to confront Little, and had to be restrained by Martin and bench coach DeMarlo Hale.
Right-hander Chris Smith replaced Stroman and Miguel Montero took over for Martin.
Stroman allowed three runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings, walking a season-high six. Asked about the ejection afterward, he had little to say.
"When it comes to umpires or any of that, I'm not going to be making any comments about that," Stroman said. "I want to make my next start."
Oakland struck quickly against Stroman, scoring three runs in the first against a pitcher who had allowed just four earned runs combined in his previous four July starts. Ryon Healy drove in a run with a groundout and Bruce Maxwell followed with a two-run single.
Donaldson replied with a one-out blast in the bottom half, his 10th, and Morales connected to begin the fifth, his 19th.
Toronto tied it in the sixth when Jose Bautista hit a leadoff double and scored on Justin Smoak's two-out single.
Troy Tulowitzki tried to score from second on Darwin Barney's two-out single in the seventh, but was thrown out at home plate by a strong throw from right fielder Matt Joyce.
Manaea allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings.
"It kind of stings a little bit," Manaea said. "We had an opportunity to win and just didn't put it together."
Oakland broke a 3-all tie against Ryan Tepera in the eighth when Semien's two-out single scored Jaycob Brugman, but Morales answered in the ninth.
GETTING THE AX
Oakland RHP John Axford, the NL saves leader in 2011, was designated for assignment. Melvin said it was tough to cut Axford, citing his veteran presence in the clubhouse. Axford went 0-1 with no saves and a 6.43 ERA in 22 appearances.
WORST IN THE FIRST
Blue Jays pitchers have an AL-worst 6.35 ERA in the first inning.
Athletics: C Josh Phegley (left oblique) was placed on the 10-day DL and C Ryan Lavarnway was recalled from Triple-A Nashville. ... RHP Ryan Dull (right knee) was activated off the DL, taking Axford's spot on the roster.
Blue Jays: Quality control coach Derek Shelton replaced first base coach Tim Leiper (illness) midway through the game.
Athletics: RHP Daniel Gossett (2-5, 5.40) starts the opener of a three-game home series against Minnesota. Gossett has allowed at least one homer in seven of his first eight starts. Newly acquired LHP Jaime Garcia (4-7. 4.30) goes for the Twins.
Blue Jays: LHP J.A. Happ (3-7, 4.13) starts the opener of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. Happ allowed a season-high seven earned runs in his previous outing, a July 23 loss at Cleveland. RHP Parker Bridwell (4-1, 3.09) starts for the Angels.
When the Hall of Fame presents Bill King with the Ford C. Frick award Saturday, it will be big not only for the multitude of fans that listened to him but the colleagues who worked alongside the legendary A's broadcaster.
“I think he was the very best radio sports broadcaster we’ve ever had in this country,” NBC Sports Bay Area’s Greg Papa said. “He’s just a radio genius. To me, he epitomized the Bay Area as a sportscaster because he was the Bay Area. His word choice, his vocabulary, the way he was able to describe things. In so many ways he was the perfect Bay Area radio broadcaster.”
King was the rare breed of broadcaster, someone versatile enough and knowledgable enough to excel at announcing three major sports — football with the Raiders from 1966-92, basketball with the Warriors from 1962-83 and baseball with the A’s from 1981 until his death in 2005.
It was baseball that was nearest to his heart. And while his expertise at describing a ballgame was unparalleled, there was so much more to King’s life beyond the broadcast booth. That’s something current A’s radio play-by-play man Ken Korach discovered in the decade he worked alongside King after joining the A’s in 1995.
Korach, who chronicled King’s career in the 2013 book “Holy Toledo: Lessons from Bill King, Renaissance Man of the Mic”, found himself visiting art museums with King during A’s road trips.
“He was a patron of the arts and the ballet, the opera,” Korach said. “One thing that people may not know is that he was a wonderful impressionist painter. He painted landscapes that were absolutely beautiful, breaththaking.”
Korach has one of King’s paintings hanging in his den.
Like King, Papa also announced three different sports at the same time for a period — football with the Raiders, basketball with the San Antonio Spurs and baseball with the A’s. When he joined the A’s television booth in 1990, King was a crucial resource for him.
“When I began doing A’s TV in 1990, I would listen to Bill and have a legal pad out and take notes,” said Papa, who still calls Raider games. “It was better than any research I could do. He was so meticulously prepared.”
Korach chuckled when recalling King’s idiosyncrasies in the booth, such as insisting the window always remain open regardless of the elements.
“Even if it was December in Cleveland, and it was a Raider game and snowing and 5 degrees, the window would stay open,” Korach said. “He was real meticulous with the way he would set up the table when broadcasting the game, all of the notes in a certain place. And the wind would just wreak havoc. There was one game when literally I was on the air and he just took all of his stuff and slammed it on the ground, he was so upset and frustrated.”
For many years King was bypassed for Cooperstown, his excellence in three sports probably robbing him of being appreciated in one specific sport. On Saturday, he gets the ultimate tribute in being inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Korach and his wife, Denise, will be on hand for the ceremony.
“The most important thing,” Korach said, “is what it means to A’s fans, and fans in the Bay Area in general.”