Overbay comes through late for Toronto to key win 5-4 over Oakland
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Lyle Overbay doesn’t know if his right hand will ever be pain free this season. Even with the pain, the Toronto first baseman is a threat at the plate.
After grounding out in consecutive at-bats Tuesday night against Oakland, Overbay came through with arguably his biggest clutch hit since coming off the disabled list, a tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth inning to lift the Blue Jays to a 5-4 win over the Athletics.
“It hurts but it hurts after my swing so its not one of those things that I’m changing my swing,” said Overbay, who extended his hitting streak to six games. “I just don’t have a feel of it. I hate blaming it on that because I feel like I can still put good swings on the bat. It’s just I’m not getting that line-drive lift, which is frustrating for me.”
Overbay had grounded into double plays in his two previous at-bats and was mired in a 5-for-26 slump before doubling off the right-field wall to drive in the go-ahead runs off A’s reliever Andrew Brown in the eighth.
“It’s good to see how we came back against a closer again,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said. “We’ve done that numerous times this year. We almost did it again. It shows the fight in the guys.”
But the A’s don’t have much to show for it. They dropped four games under .500 (65-69) and are 14 games in back of the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West.
Toronto, on the other hand, is trying to stay alive for a possible playoff berth. The Blue Jays’ win, coupled with Seattle’s loss to the Angels, pulled Toronto within seven games of the Mariners in the AL wild card chase.
Brian Wolfe (3-1) pitched two innings of relief to pick up the win for Toronto. Jeremy Accardo gave up two runs in the ninth on RBI singles by Marco Scutaro and Jack Hannahan before Casey Janssen got Shannon Stewart to ground to first with two runners on for the final out. It was Janssen’s fourth save.
“Things were just starting to snowball,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “My gut told me maybe it was time (to change pitchers). I’ve got confidence in all those guys down there.”
Overbay’s double off loser Andrew Brown (2-1) came on a 2-0 fastball and bounced off the wall in right field to drive in Reed Johnson and Rios, both of whom singled off Brown to open the eighth.
“I haven’t been able to drive the ball,” said Overbay, who suffered a broken right hand June 3rd after getting hit by a pitch from Chicago White Sox pitcher John Danks. “I feel like I’m a lowball hitter and to not be able to drive that ball the double play before, its frustrating. This ball was a little farther up, not much. I was able to get some air underneath it instead of hitting it on the ground because that wasn’t working.”
Stairs hit his home run, a solo shot, in the fourth off Oakland starter Chad Gaudin. Stairs has 16 homers, the most he’s had since he clubbed 18 for Kansas City in 2004.
Neither starting pitcher was around for the decision.
Toronto’s Jesse Litsch held Oakland’s slumping offense to two runs and four hits in six innings. Litsch has allowed two earned runs or fewer in eight of his 10 starts since being recalled from the minors on June 28. He gave up a two-run single to Jack Cust in the first but was masterful otherwise, retiring 12 straight batters at one point.
The Blue Jays’ righty surrendered a two-out single to Mike Piazza in the sixth before giving way to Wolfe to begin the seventh. Litsch finished with three strikeouts and one walk.
Gaudin, who has struggled since the All-Star break, was equally solid. He allowed five hits over seven innings, including Stairs’ 16th homer of the season, and got some help from the A’s defense which turned a pair of double plays to wipe out Toronto threats in the fourth and sixth.
Gaudin struck out five and walked four.
Toronto RHP Roy Halladay will make his third attempt at win No. 15 on Wednesday night … Oakland RHP Rich Harden, who has been on the disabled list because of a strained right shoulder since July 8, rejoined the A’s to continue his rehab work and is scheduled to throw off the mound Wednesday … Gaudin has given up just three runs over his last 12 innings.