The Oakland Athletics are hoping another series with Toronto can help them shake their recent slide.
The A’s will try to end a three-game losing streak as they open their second series against the Blue Jays in two weeks, a three-game set at Rogers Centre.
Oakland (65-67) opened its just-completed seven-game road trip with a three-game sweep in Toronto (65-65) before dropping the final three games of its four-game series in Tampa Bay. The Athletics, who had won nine of 11 before their current slide, have won eight of their last 11 games against Toronto, and eight of 12 at home against the Blue Jays.
Oakland lost 7-4 to the Devil Rays on Sunday and was outscored 33-9 in the final three games of the series. Kurt Suzuki homered and had two RBIs for the Athletics.
“It’s frustrating losing to a team that we should be able to beat,” said A’s starter Dan Haren, who took the loss. “I felt very confident going into this game that we would win. It’ll be a tough ride home.”
The three defeats dropped the Athletics two games under .500 after they reached the break-even mark for the first time since the All-Star break following Wednesday’s win. Esteban Loaiza (1-0, 1.17 ERA), who starts Monday, made his season debut in that game and allowed just one run in 7 2-3 innings.
Loaiza started the season on the DL with a bulging disc in his neck and then underwent surgery on May 31 after injuring his right knee while on a rehab assignment. However, the layoff didn’t seem to affect him, as he threw 109 pitches—71 for strikes.
“He looked like he was in midseason form,” manager Bob Geren said. “It’s great to have him back, and it’s nice to see that kind of performance, especially the first time out.”
Loaiza, who went 25-28 for Toronto from 2000-02, improved to 6-4 with a 3.60 ERA in his 12th start and 14th appearance against his former team.
“I threw all my pitches for strikes and felt comfortable with everything,” he said.
Toronto designated hitter Frank Thomas, who played for Oakland in 2006, is 7-for-16 (.438) with three doubles and a homer all-time against Loaiza.
Blue Jays starter A.J. Burnett (7-7, 3.85), who starts opposite Loaiza again in the series opener, was charged with Wednesday’s loss. He lasted seven innings, but two errors made three of the four runs he allowed unearned.
The loss was his first in three starts since a stint on the DL with a sore right shoulder. He owns a 1.74 ERA in those outings.
Burnett won his only other start against the A’s on Aug. 22, 2006, allowing three runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-3 victory in Toronto.
Toronto has dropped five of its last seven, including Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels and former Blue Jay Kelvim Escobar. The Blue Jays split the four-game series in Los Angeles, which opened their current seven-game trip.
Toronto hasn’t won a road series since taking two of three in Oakland July 2-4. Vernon Wells, who scored the Blue Jays’ lone run Sunday, is hitting 8-for-25 (.320) with four homers this season against the A’s.