OAKLAND – Derek Norris came around to score on Nick Punto’s double down the left-field line and the A’s beat the Toronto Blue Jays 1-0 in 12 innings Friday afternoon.
On a day that neither team could get anything going offensively, it was fitting that the winning run came home with help from an error. Punto’s double down the left field line got under the glove of Toronto left fielder Melky Cabrera, helping Norris score all the way from first.
No RBI was credited on the play, not that the A’s care. They were playing their major league-high 15th extra-inning contest, an have gone to extras in four of their past 12 games alone. They were happy to finally send the holiday crowd home without taking the field for the 13th.
Oakland’s 10 extra-inning victories also lead the bigs.
The A’s have taken the first two of this four-game series, which resumes Saturday night.
A’s first baseman Brandon Moss left the game with a sprained left ankle in the bottom of the eighth, when he twisted his ankle awkwardly while trying to leave the batter’s box on a double-play grounder to second.
Starting pitching report
Tommy Milone was in top form, shutting out the Blue Jays over six innings and allowing just four hits. Nothing fancy, the lefty just spotted his high-80’s fastball to all parts of the plate effectively. He got four of his six strikeouts looking and benefitted from a generous strike zone from home plate umpire Vic Carapazza at times. That didn’t sit very well with Blue Jays hitting coach Kevin Seitzer who got ejected mid-game for barking at Carapazza from the dugout.
Regardless, it was an excellent outing for Milone, who issued one walk and allowed just one Blue Jay as far as third base.
With Milone’s pitch count at 100 after six innings, Bob Melvin called on lefty Eric O’Flaherty to make his A’s debut. O’Flaherty responded with a solid inning of work, allowing just Munenori Kawasaki’s two-out single. Making his first major league appearance since Tommy John surgery in May of last season, O’Flaherty’s fastball hovered in the 90-91 mph range. All three hitters that the lefty retired were hitting from the right side.
Luke Gregerson, Sean Doolittle, Fernando Abad, Ryan Cook and Dan Otero all turned in scoreless innings after O’Flaherty.
At the plate
Punto was 0 for 4 before delivering the hit that ended it. Norris reached on a leadoff walk against Chad Jenkins in the 12th to start the winning rally.
In the field
It was a cloudless sky, and the sun made every pop-up an adventure. Coco Crisp lost track of Stevel Tolleson’s shallow fly and it fell for a double. Jays shortstop Jose Reyes couldn’t follow a foul pop just beyond the left-field line, and it hit the earth about 10 feet from where he stood.
The A’s turned an entertaining 5-4-3 double play to end the top of the eighth. Donaldson ranged left to smother Edwin Encarnacion’s grounder. Seated on his rear, he bounced a throw to second that Nick Punto handled and relayed to first to complete an excellent play.
The announced turnout was 22,322, smallish for a holiday afternoon game. Part of that was because the A’s held their fireworks show the night before.
A matchup of likely All-Stars is on tap for Saturday’s 7:05 p.m. game, with Scott Kazmir (9-3, 2.61) pitching for the A’s and Mark Buehrle (10-5, 2.50) going for the Blue Jays.