“If would have said to me a week ago that we would be tied, I would have said you were crazy,” Chavez said after Miguel Tejada homered and had three hits as the Athletics beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-6 Monday night.
Tejada went 15-for-31 as Oakland went 5-2 on a trip to Boston and Toronto. The Athletics, who lost Mulder to a stress fracture in his right hip, are tied with Seattle atop the AL West, holding a share of first place for the first time since May 15.
While Oakland has won three straight and at 76-55 is a season-high 21 games over .500, Seattle has lost six straight.
“Our starting pitching really didn’t do anything in Boston. Our bullpen picked us up big time and then we found out about Mark, it was real tough,” Chavez said. “The whole team knew that offensively and defensively that we were going to have to pick it up, and we’ve been doing that.”
Terrence Long went 4-for-5 for the A’s, who also are tied with Boston in the AL wild-card race.
“It’s going to be fun from here on out,” Long said.
Oakland’s offense, which has been inconsistent this season, has scored 36 runs in the last three games.
“Now we’re hitting the way we’re supposed to be hitting,” Tejada said. “We’ve started hitting just in time.”
Ted Lilly (7-9) won for the first time in five starts since July 25, allowing three runs—two earned—and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out seven and walked three.
Oakland led 7-3 in the eighth when Josh Phelps hit a three-run homer off Ricardo Rincon. The A’s Erubiel Durazo hit a solo homer off Trever Miller in the ninth, and Keith Foulke got five outs for his 34th save in 39 chances. Toronto had two on with one out in the ninth, but Carlos Delgado flied out and Tom Wilson hit a game-ending comebacker.
Toronto starter Cory Lidle, activated from the disabled list before the game, gave up seven runs and nine hits in four-plus innings against his former team. Lidle (11-11) hadn’t pitched since Aug. 7 because of a strained left groin.
“The results weren’t there, but I felt good about the outing,” Lidle said.
Long hit an RBI double in the third, but Vernon Wells had a run-scoring double in the bottom half.
Oakland batted around in the fifth and took a four-run lead. Tejada hit his 21st homer, Long had an RBI double and reliever Jason Kershner hit Jose Guillenwith a pitch with the bases loaded.
The A’s returned home after the game for a six-game homestand againstBaltimore and Tampa Bay. … The Blue Jays lost three of four to Oakland.