The A’s took the field Tuesday riding their longest winning streak since late June, but those good vibes disappeared fast.
A 4-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays conjured up memories of some of the bumbling defensive moments that marked Oakland’s first half of the season. They committed two errors that aided a three-run rally in the second inning as the Blue Jays commanded a 3-1 lead. With Drew Hutchison (11-2) giving up just four hits over seven innings, that hole proved too much for the A’s to climb out of in the opener of this two-city, seven-game road trip.
Kendall Graveman lasted just 4 2/3 innings and still hasn’t found the win column since July 4. The A’s took a 1-0 lead in the first. They didn’t cross the plate again until the eighth, when they cut their deficit to 4-2.
Third baseman Brett Lawrie, in his first game at the Rogers Center since Toronto traded him to Oakland in the offseason, finished 0-for-4. If it was any consolation for A’s fans, Blue Jays MVP candidate Josh Donaldson, the man dealt to Toronto in that exchange, also went hitless in four at-bats.
Starting pitching report:
Graveman (6-8) took the loss and couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning, but it’s tough to lay a whole lot of blame on the rookie right-hander based on the way his defense abandoned him. In a four-batter sequence to open the bottom of the second, Graveman allowed just one hard-hit ball and no walks, yet managed to record no outs and gave up two runs. Two errors that inning from his infield drove up his pitch count, and he left after 4 2/3 innings, having allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits. He struck out four and walked one. His biggest mistake pitch came in the fifth, when he hung a curve ball that Jose Bautista crushed to left for a homer that made it 4-1.
Evan Scribner relieved Graveman and tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Arnold Leon, getting a shot to see what he can do as a big league reliever, struck out three in two scoreless innings.
At the plate:
Danny Valencia, another former Blue Jay facing his former team, lined a first-inning double that scored Josh Reddick. That came one pitch after a replay overturn ruled Reddick safe at first on what was originally an inning-ending double play. Billy Burns’ run-scoring single in the eight pulled Oakland to within 4-2.
In the field:
It was a rocky sequence in the second. It started when Coco Crisp let Chris Colabello’s shallow bloop bounce over his head in left field for a double. Then shortstop Marcus Semien fielded Russell Martin’s grounder, took an ill-advised look toward third and sailed a high throw to first for an error that let Colabello score. Justin Smoak delivered an RBI double to left after that and then second baseman Eric Sogard booted a grounder to extend Graveman’s misery. A third run came home on a groundout.
In two starts with the A’s, Aaron Brooks (1-0, 2.41) has struck out 12 and walked one in 14 1/3 innings. He’ll oppose knuckleballer R.A Dickey (6-10, 3.93) in Wednesday’s 4:05 p.m. contest.