TORONTO – Chris Coghlan normally hops all over the diamond for the A’s, but he’s likely to drop anchor at third base for as long as Danny Valencia is on the disabled list.
So far he’s impressing in his temporary role. Coghlan got the A’s offensive train rolling in Friday’s 8-5 victory over the Blue Jays, which got a little too close for comfort before Oakland pocketed its sixth victory in a row.
Coghlan drilled an opposite-field three-run homer off Aaron Sanchez (1-1) in the second inning, his second time he’s gone deep in as many days. The A’s are now 7-0 on the road, the only remaining unbeaten road team in the majors, and Coghlan seems to be proving his value on a daily basis. He’s also turned in some nifty plays at the hot corner.
Crazy thing is, Coghlan’s night got off to a painful start. Sanchez nailed him in the right foot with a breaking ball in the first, and Coghlan hobbled around in obvious pain for several minutes before remaining in the game. That foot seemed just fine as he made the slow trot around the bases in the second, following his third homer of the season.
The A’s continued swinging the bats from there, and built a 6-1 lead before the Blue Jays fought their way back. They pulled within a run on Kevin Pillar’s two-run single in the eighth, but Ryan Madson took care of business in the ninth to register his seventh save, tops in the American League.
At 10-7, Oakland has already eclipsed its April win total from last season.
Starting pitching report
Sonny Gray (3-1) went seven innings and gave up three runs to get the win, though he seemed destined for a much more dominant outing. He coasted through the first five innings, striking out seven and keeping his pitch count low. He ran into some difficulty during the sixth, when he walked three in a 27-pitch frame. But importantly, he held Toronto to just one run despite loading the bases with no outs, and the A’s took a 6-2 lead out of that inning.
The A’s feel pretty good handing a lead to Ryan Dull. But after getting two outs in the eighth, he walked a batter and gave up a single. Then Sean Doolittle entered and issued another walk before giving up Pillar’s two-run single to make it a 6-5 game. Madson restored order in the ninth, as is becoming the norm.
At the plate
Every member of the A’s lineup had at least one hit or scored at least one run. It was just one week ago that this team was lamenting the inability to get a clutch hit. Now guys can’t grab a bat and get to home plate fast enough. The A’s are averaging 5.2 runs over their six-game win streak, compared to 2.6 over their first 11 games. They knocked out 14 hits total, and though Coghlan provided the big blast, Stephen Vogt was 3-for-5 with an RBI double and Coco Crisp had two hits, including an RBI double.
Toronto’s rotation has been a relative bright spot compared to the question marks surrounding it leading into the season. But Friday was not Aaron Sanchez’s night, as the right-hander was tagged for six runs on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings.
In the field
The A’s played an errorless game.
A crowd of 34,251 was treated to more of Prince’s greatest hits over the PA system between innings, in honor of the music legend who died Thursday.
Saturday morning baseball’s on tap, with Chris Bassitt (0-0, 2.79) matching up against lefty J.A. Happ (2-0, 1.89). First pitch is at 10:07 a.m. A noteworthy change for Sunday: The Jays will call up right-hander Drew Hutchison from Triple-A to make a spot start in place of Marcus Stroman, who will get an extra day’s rest.