OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Jesse Litsch held down Oakland’s offense just as he did in a shutout of Kansas City in his previous start. The Blue Jays scored more than enough runs for him for a change, too.
Litsch won his fifth straight decision and extended his scoreless streak to 16 innings, Rod Barajas had three doubles and drove in three runs, and the Toronto Blue Jays took the rubber game from the Athletics with a 12-0 win Thursday.
“I’ll try not to stop here and keep rolling,” Litsch said. “I just went out there and threw strikes again today. It’s definitely different when you score 12 runs in a game. Seeing these guys swing the bats is awesome. The longer you wait between innings is good. Everything is coming together.”
The Blue Jays won for the seventh time in eight games. Litsch’s gem and Toronto’s most productive game of the year also gave manager John Gibbons his 300th managerial victory.
“Is that right?” Gibbons said. “I didn’t even know it was 300. I didn’t give it much thought. You never know how long you’re going to last in these jobs, so I guess it’s pretty cool.”
Litsch (7-1), coming off a seven-hit shutout of Kansas City on Saturday, hasn’t lost in seven starts since a defeat at Tampa Bay on April 22. He allowed seven hits in seven innings, struck out three and walked one in throwing a season-high 108 pitches.
After allowing Jack Hannahan’s leadoff single in the first, Litsch retired the next eight batters before Hannahan singled again. Jesse Carlson and Shawn Camp finished the eight-hit shutout, Toronto’s sixth. The A’s were blanked for the sixth time.
Shannon Stewart hit a two-run homer among his three hits, his first of the year and against his 2007 club. David Eckstein had an RBI double in his second game back from a disabled list stint with a hip flexor injury. Eckstein, who sat out Wednesday, returns Friday for the first time to Anaheim to face the Angels, his team for his first four big league seasons from 2001-04.
Aaron Hill had a pair of base hits and two RBIs, including drawing a bases-loaded walk in a three-run fifth that made it 7-0. But the second baseman was injured after a hard collision with Eckstein in the seventh.
Hill was down and held his head for several minutes as Toronto’s training staff examined his head and teeth before he walked off the field on his own. He and Eckstein, the shortstop, both ran sideways on a high popup in shallow center by Rob Bowen that fell for a single and Eckstein’s elbow hit Hill in the jaw. The team called it a mild concussion as a precaution.
“He pulled a good one on me,” said Hill, who expects to be available Friday. “I haven’t been hit that hard in a while.”
Kevin Mench had three hits and scored three runs and Brad Wilkerson added a sacrifice fly as the Blue Jays got a season high in runs and hits (17). Barajas hit his second double in the fifth and Wilkerson followed with an RBI single that chased A’s starter Dana Eveland (4-4) after 4 1-3 innings and his shortest outing of the year.
“It’s nice to go out there and score some runs,” Barajas said. “It doesn’t matter who’s pitching, there aren’t very many times we go out there and put a team away early.”
The Blue Jays scored 10 or more runs for the third time this season and tagged Eveland for a career-high seven earned runs. Every Toronto batter reached base safely and six players had multihit games.
Eveland was hit by balls on two infield singles—the first on the left wrist and right biceps then the second on his right Achilles’ tendon.
“Honestly I felt a little rusty,” he said. “I had seven days’ rest. I didn’t feel bad, I didn’t feel great. It was just another day. I felt confident going into my start after the last one. I just went out there and they swung the bats. Everything found a hole.”
Hannahan had his first three-hit game of the year but the A’s got little else.
Litsch, the former bat boy and intern for the Tampa Bay Rays, kept Oakland off balance all day. He allowed only his second walk in his past 46 innings.
Eveland didn’t have his best stuff one start after pitching his first career complete game in a 9-1 win over Tampa Bay on May 21. He came in with a 3-0 record and 0.94 ERA at home in the Coliseum.
Eric Chavez—who had offseason surgery on his back and both shoulders— went 0-for-4 in his season debut after being activated from the 60-day disabled list before the game and several days ahead of schedule. He played designated hitter after Frank Thomas was placed on the DL with a knee and quadriceps injury.
Chavez, who was on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento, had to wake up at 4 a.m. to fly from Portland to the Bay Area.
“I was just a little lethargic. I need to catch up on some sleep,” Chavez said. “I’ll feel better tomorrow I’m assuming.”
Chavez, the six-time Gold Glove third baseman, received a warm welcome from the fans.
Oakland had its five-game winning streak snapped in a 2-1 loss Wednesday night, then dropped its fourth series in the past five. The A’s suffered their most lopsided loss since a 14-0 defeat to Texas on Aug. 9, 2006.
Barajas had four doubles all season coming into the game. He has 15 career doubles against the A’s, his most against any opponent. … Eveland had given up only six total earned runs in his previous four starts, lowering his ERA from 3.67 to 2.90 during that span. … Hannahan’s last three-hit game came Sept. 16 last year vs. Texas. … Blue Jays backup C Curtis Thigpen made his 2008 debut after getting called up a day earlier when Gregg Zaun went on the DL.