Athletics 7, Blue Jays 4
TORONTO (AP)—Nick Swisher took all the razzing in stride and ended up with a night he’ll never forget.
Swisher doubled and walked twice in his major league debut and Bobby Kielty hit a go-ahead homer off Ted Lilly—the pitcher he was traded for—to lead the Oakland Athletics past the Toronto Blue Jays 7-4 on Friday night.
“The feeling is just unbelievable. Just to get the first hit out of the away was awesome. I was so nervous I was shaking my first at-bat,” Swisher said.
Swisher, who was prominently featured in Michael Lewis’ book “Moneyball,” finished 1-for-3 with two walks. He walked in his first plate appearance, doubled for his first major league hit in the fourth and walked on four pitches in the sixth.
Swisher’s father and step mom traveled from Parkersburg, W.Va., to see him, and four college buddies drove up from Columbus, Ohio.
“To be able to have my father see that, it’s something I worked for my whole life,” Swisher said. “It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it.”
Veteran Mark McLemore made Swisher wear a taped helmet with the word “rookie” on the front of it while he took batting practice.
Swisher was also fined in Kangaroo Court by his teammates, including a $100 fine for getting into the lineup in his first day in the majors. He was also fined a $100 for getting called up just because he works the count.
“Swish has a lot of big league in him,” Oakland starter Tim Hudson said. “He has a swagger about him, which a lot of great players do, even though he’s a rookie. He’s going to definitely take his lumps in the clubhouse, that’s for sure, there’s no question about that.”
Hudson won his fourth straight start for the AL West-leading A’s, who won for the 15th time in 17 games.
Kielty’s two-run homer off Lilly (9-10) gave Oakland a 5-4 lead in the sixth. The A’s swapped Lilly for Kielty in the offseason.
“It was definitely strange. He’s the guy I got traded for,” said Kielty, who went 3-for-4, improving his average to .211. “It’s definitely been a miserable year. To have a day like that helps me out.”
Lilly, an All-Star this year, allowed five runs on 10 hits in six innings.
“That was a game I really wanted to win, especially considering how hard we worked to score four runs against a tough pitcher,” Lilly said.
Hudson (11-4) allowed four runs on eight hits in seven innings and Octavio Dotel pitched the ninth for his 17th save in 22 chances.
Carlos Delgado homered for the last-place Blue Jays, who have lost seven of 10.
Delgado led of the second with a homer off Hudson, the first homer he’s allowed in 13 starts—a span of 96 1-3 innings or 402 at-bats. Minnesota’s Jacque Jones homered off Hudson May 8.
Lilly loaded the bases in the third before Scott Hatteberg hit a game-tying RBI single.
Swisher led off the fourth with his double and scored on Eric Byrnes’ double. Kielty followed with an RBI single.
Swisher walked in the sixth before Kielty homered over the center field wall to give Oakland the lead for good.
“He was battling, he never found his groove,” Blue Jays interim manager John Gibbons said of Lilly. “He kept us in the game until that big home run did us in.”
Toronto pinch-hitter Russ Adams singled in his first major league at-bat in the ninth.
Oakland RF Jermaine Dye left the game in the sixth. Dye missed the previous three games because of a fracture in his left thumb. He went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, and is in a 5-for-39 slump. Kotsay, who has been bothered by a bruised left knee, replaced Dye. … Oakland DH Erubiel Durazo didn’t play because of a sore back.