Dan Haren matches career high with 14th win as Athletics beat Blue Jays 6-4
TORONTO (AP)—Maybe Dan Haren should change his opinion about pitching in Toronto.
Haren (14-4) allowed all three homers but still won for the first time in August, snapping a three-start winless streak. The right-hander, who came in with the best ERA in the American League at 2.54, gave up four runs and six hits over six innings. He walked none and matched a season high by striking out nine.
“I had really good stuff tonight, better than I’ve had most of the year,” Haren said.
Despite being 3-0 in four career starts at Rogers Centre, Haren said the stadium holds as many bad memories as good. A year ago Tuesday, Haren allowed eight runs in the first two innings but still earned the victory as Oakland rallied to win 12-10.
“This is not a fun place to pitch,” Haren said. “The gaps are big and they’ve always got a good team.”
On Tuesday, Haren let Toronto tie the game at 4 with back-to-back homers in the sixth but was bailed out again.
“I let them back in it and luckily the offense picked me up and the bullpen was outstanding,” Haren said. “It was a nice win because I was really frustrated after that sixth inning.”
Haren won 14 games in 2005 and 2006.
“There’s no question Haren is one of the best in the game,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He was rolling, he was on but we got a couple of big ones there.”
With the game tied at 4, Oakland took the lead for good by scoring twice in the seventh against reliever Brian Tallet (2-3). Nick Swisher singled and scored when Alex Rios bobbled Jack Cust’s single to right. One out later, Johnson scored Cust with a single through the right side of Toronto’s drawn-in infield.
“We had some big hits, some timely hits and it was just enough to win,” Cust said.
The Athletics scored one run in each of the first three innings against Toronto starter Dustin McGowan. Jeff DaVanon scored on a wild pitch in the first and drove in Mark Ellis with an RBI grounder in the second before Johnson doubled home Cust in the third.
McGowan settled down after Johnson’s hit and retired the final nine batters he faced. The right-hander allowed three runs and five hits over five innings. He walked four and matched a season-high with seven strike outs.
“When you’re not throwing strikes, especially with a team like us that takes a lot of pitches, it can be difficult,” Cust said. “He got ahead of some guys and couldn’t finish them off.”
Thomas hit a solo homer in the second, then went back-to-back with Wells in the sixth as the Jays tied the game at 4. Rios hit a two-out single and scored when Wells homered to left before Thomas drilled Haren’s next pitch over the wall in center.
Wells’ homer was his first since July 24, a span of 97 at bats. It was Toronto’s first multihomer game since July 24, when they hit four off Minnesota’s Johan Santana.
For Thomas, it was his third multihomer game of the season and 32nd for his career.
The Athletics will activate RHP Esteban Loaiza off the 60-day disabled list Wednesday to start the series finale. Loaiza has missed the entire season to date because of neck and knee injuries. … Blue Jays shortstop John McDonald raced into foul territory behind third base and made a sliding catch on his knees to retire Mike Piazza in the first.
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