The Toronto Blue Jays took advantage of Oakland’s struggles to beat the Athletics at home for the first time in eight meetings.
They now look to hand Oakland its eighth straight loss Tuesday when the teams continue their four-game series.
Oakland (53-58) swept the Blue Jays (56-56) at Rogers Centre in April, but Toronto responded by winning two of three in Oakland at the end of May before opening this series on Monday with a 6-1 victory.
The Blue Jays had 10 hits, but scored half of their runs on Oakland miscues. Sean Gallagher hit Marco Scutaro and Adam Lind with the bases loaded and Oakland catcher Kurt Suzuki’s passed ball allowed Lyle Overbay to score as Toronto built a 5-0 lead after three innings.
The Athletics, who have scored just 13 runs over their seven-game losing streak, only managed Bobby Crosby’s homer in the eighth.
The win was the Blue Jays’ first at home against the Athletics since a 6-0 win on Aug. 23, 2006.
The Blue Jays had lost four of their previous five, during which their starters failed to pitch through the sixth inning in four of those outings. Oakland’s starters have fared worse, going 1-10 with a 7.03 ERA in 16 games since the All-Star break. Gallagher pitched three innings Monday, allowing five runs—four earned.
“I was trying to nibble way too much, trying to make perfect pitches and ended up missing by a lot most of the time,” said Gallagher, who has not won in four starts.
Greg Smith (5-10, 4.04 ERA) takes the mound for Oakland on Tuesday, looking to snap the longest losing streak for the A’s since they dropped nine straight from July 6-17, 2007.
Smith has lost his last three starts and four straight decisions. He pitched seven innings last Tuesday against Kansas City, allowing five runs and four hits in the 5-2 loss.
Manager Bob Geren, however, thought it was progress for Smith, who had given up 10 runs over his previous 9 2-3 innings.
“I thought he pitched extremely well,” Geren told the A’s official Web site. “It was one of his sharpest outings.”
The 24-year-old rookie left-hander had a 6.18 ERA in five starts in July, but he’s pitched well in two outings against the Blue Jays, allowing two earned runs over 12 2-3 innings. He is 1-0 in those starts, and the A’s won both outings.
Right-hander Scott Richmond (0-1, 5.06) makes his second major league start Tuesday, when he counters for Toronto. Richmond pitched 5 1-3 innings last Wednesday against Tampa Bay, allowing three runs and seven hits in a 3-2 loss.
“If he pitches like that all the time,” manager Cito Gaston told the Blue Jays’ official Web site, “it certainly gives us a chance to win a ballgame.”