The A’s could use a few of those surplus runs they were piling up just a short time ago.
They got the bats going too little, too late in a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays to open a three-game series at the Rogers Center. Oakland mustered just eight hits in dropping its second game in a row.
The A’s were averaging more than seven runs per contest over a 10-game stretch that took them into their recent series against Tampa Bay. But over their past four games, three against the Rays and one against the Blue Jays, they’ve totaled just 10 runs (2.5 average) and 23 hits (5.8 average).
They made noise in the top of the ninth off Toronto closer Casey Janssen. Coco Crisp doubled with two outs and stole third. But Jed Lowrie grounded out to second to end it, denying a victory for bench coach Chip Hale, who was filling in as manager with Bob Melvin away to attend the college graduation of his daughter, Alexi.
Starting pitching report
Scott Kazmir (5-2), who was ejected after just 1 1/3 innings in his previous start in Cleveland, was solid in keeping the A’s close in this one. He went seven innings and gave up three runs on five hits.
Steve Tolleson, an infielder for the A’s in 2010, hit a 3-1 pitch for a two-run homer in the second. Kazmir didn’t help himself in the third. After Kevin Pillar doubled, Kazmir spun and made a pickoff throw to second with no one covering. The ball sailed into center, Pillar ended up at third and scored on Jose Reyes’ grounder to make it a 3-0 game.
Jim Johnson turned in a scoreless eighth inning, allowing Reyes’ one-out single but nothing else to keep the game close.
At the plate
The A’s got little going against right-hander Liam Hendriks (1-0), who was making his first major league start of the season. He held them to three hits over 5 2/3 innings. The only damage came from Brandon Moss, who homered to right in the fourth to cut Oakland’s deficit to 3-1. The A’s closed to within 3-2 on pinch hitter Alberto Callaspo’s two-out RBI single in the eighth.
In the field
The A’s got precious little going with the bats, and when they threatened, the Blue Jays answered with some nice defensive plays. Melky Cabrera made a nice sliding catch in left field to rob Derek Norris in the fifth. Then with a runner on and two outs in the sixth, Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion made a diving stop of Josh Reddick’s grounder and beat him to the bag to end that inning.
Encarnacion turned in another beauty in the eighth when he ran down Yoenis Cespedes’ foul pop-up and made a basket catch with his back to home plate.
The A’s have had success against Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (4-4, 4.20), pinning four losses on him in his five career decisions against them. Jesse Chavez (4-1, 2.54) goes for Oakland in Saturday’s 10:07 a.m. contest.