McCarthy, A's hope to contain Bautista, Blue Jays

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McCarthy, A's hope to contain Bautista, Blue Jays

April 5, 2011
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A's (1-2) vs.
TORONTO (2-1)

TORONTO (AP) -- Jose Bautista may have enjoyed the best season of his career in 2010, but it hardly came at the expense of the Oakland Athletics.

Bautista is already off to a strong start in 2011 and will try to reverse his woes against the Athletics when the Toronto Blue Jays open a three-game home series Tuesday night.

The slugger had career highs of a .260 average, a major league-leading 54 homers and 124 RBIs last season. His .115 average against Oakland (1-2) was his worst against an AL opponent, and he had one homer and two RBIs in seven meetings.

NEWS: MLB scoreboard

Bautista is 5 for 11 with two solo homers this season, but he and the Blue Jays don't want to be too reliant on the long ball. Toronto (2-1) has homered six times in its two wins and once in its loss, Sunday's 4-3 defeat to Minnesota.

"We have more tools now; we have more versatile guys," Bautista told the Blue Jays' official website. "We can run and do more stuff."

One of the players added to provide speed is Rajai Davis, who has missed the last two games with a right ankle injury. Davis, though, expects to return Tuesday to face the team he spent his previous two-plus seasons with before being traded to the Blue Jays in the offseason.

Davis was third in the majors in steals with 50 for Oakland in 2010.

Merely putting the ball in play could be a good way to have success against the Athletics, who committed seven errors over the weekend in losing two of three at home to Seattle.

"Our defense has been stinking up the field and the clubhouse," center fielder Coco Crisp said.
REWIND: A's overcome defense to defeat Mariners

Oakland first baseman Daric Barton has three errors to match Toronto third baseman Edwin Encarnacion for the most in the majors.

The A's are beginning a nine-game trip. Oakland went 34-47 on the road a season ago, and knows it must improve to seriously challenge AL champion Texas in the West.

"Playing on the road is obviously more difficult than playing at home, but our guys have played together awhile now, and I think the experience they've gained will help them," manager Bob Geren told Oakland's official website. "We do need to do a better job on the road, that's for sure."

Geren will give Brandon McCarthy his first start with the A's - and first since Oct. 2, 2009. McCarthy was limited to 22 starts over the past three seasons because of shoulder problems, but earned a spot in the rotation in spring training.

"It's a pretty solid rotation I'm joining, and it's exciting to know I have to do my part to hold up my end of the bargain," McCarthy said.

The right-hander is 3-2 with a 3.95 ERA in five starts against Toronto.

RELATED: Brandon McCarthy's player page

The Blue Jays will counter with JoJo Reyes, making his AL debut. Reyes spent his previous four seasons with Atlanta, and made one appearance for the Braves last season as he spent most of it in the minors.

One of the left-hander's five career wins came against Oakland, when he gave up two runs in five innings in a 5-2 victory May 18, 2008.

Toronto won four of seven against Oakland last season.

RELATED: A's upcoming sked

Barry Bonds predicts he can still smash Splash Hit: 'Without a doubt'

Barry Bonds predicts he can still smash Splash Hit: 'Without a doubt'

Barry Bonds stepped into Giants' broadcast booth with Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow during the top of the third inning Sunday and Kuiper immediately brought up the shape Bonds is in at 52 years old. 

"Still think you can play, probably?" Kuiper asked Bonds. 

After giving Kuiper the look, Bonds replied, "About an inning or two."

Moments later, the cameras moved to McCovey Cove past the right field wall at AT&T Park where Bonds famously hit home runs deep into the water. Of the 73 Splash Hits off Giants bats into the cove, Bonds is responsible for 35 of them. 

Now an avid cyclist who still picks up a bat from time to time, Bonds is fully confident that number would rise if he stepped into the batter's box again. 

"I promise you I will," Bonds replied when Krukow asked if he could still hit home runs into the water. "Without a doubt." 

Krukow predicted Bonds would need 10 swings to get it done. Bonds says he might need just a few more.

"Well it would take me eight swings to get warmed up, three pop ups and then I'd get it," he said with a laugh. 

During spring training this year, Bonds joined the Giants as a special instructor. And he proved his claim of more Splash Hits could certainly be true as he showed off his legendary swing and cracked balls over the wall in Scottsdale

Bonds hit his final home run of his career, No. 762, on Sept. 5, 2007 on the road against the Rockies in a 5-3 Giants win. The Giants are adding Bonds to their Wall of Fame on July 8. 

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

BOX SCORE

The A’s sprung to life offensively in the late innings Sunday and polished off their first road sweep of 2017.

They scored all five of their runs over the final three innings to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3, continuing an odd stretch of streakiness. The A’s swept the New York Yankees in four at the Coliseum, then turned around and dropped four in a row to the Houston Astros before arriving in Chicago and taking all three from the Sox. It’s their first sweep on the road since they won four in Kansas City from Sept. 12-15 of last season.

The weekend’s events provided a morale boost for a team that began the series an American League-worst 9-25 away from home. The sweep also featured numerous contributions from a pack of recently promoted young players fresh from the minors.

The A’s had no answer for left-hander Derek Holland through six-plus innings, mustering just four hits off the veteran. But trailing 2-0, they got on the board with Jed Lowrie’s pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh. The next inning, Khris Davis singled home the tying run and Yonder Alonso followed with a go-ahead single down the left-field line to put the A’s up 3-2.

They tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth on back-to-back homers from Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce.

Sonny rebounds: Sonny Gray (3-3) avoided the early trouble that plagued his last start, working seven innings and being rewarded with a victory thanks to the A’s eighth-inning rally. He struck out seven and walked just one. That was a key as Gray had issued seven free passes combined in his previous two starts. Adam Engel hit a 2-1 fastball for a homer in the third, then Jose Abreu scored on a passed ball in the fourth to give Chicago a 2-0 lead. But Gray held the Sox to just four hits over his seven innings.

Sign of things to come? Franklin Barreto got a look as the No. 2 hitter in the order Sunday, a spot that some scouts feel he’ll be well suited for as his career unfolds. He singled to the opposite field in his first at-bat, then struck out looking in his next two trips to the plate. In the eighth, his broken-bat single to left jumpstarted Oakland’s two-run go-ahead rally. Barreto is 4-for-10 in his first two games with the big club.

Joyce provides a lift off the bench: Joyce entered as a pinch runner in the seventh and connected for his 10th homer, right after Rosales had gone deep himself. Joyce became the fourth Athletic to crack double figures in homers, and the A’s improved to 31-26 when they hit at least one home run (they’re 3-16 when they don’t).

Doo does it again: Lefty reliever Sean Doolittle continued to deal since coming off the disabled list. He threw a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts and has allowed just one hit over five innings in six appearances since his return.

An unwanted milestone: The Sox scored their second run on a passed ball by Josh Phegley, which accounted for Oakland’s 50th unearned run, most in the majors. They had just 43 unearned runs all of last season.