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Blue Jays win battle of bullpens in 5-2 win over A's

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- What started Wednesday as a duel between former Cy Young Award winners -- Toronto's R.A. Dickey and Oakland's Bartolo Colon -- ended as a battle between two of baseball's bullpens at the O.co Coliseum.

Advantage Blue Jays.

Aaron Loup, Steve Delabar, Casey Janssen and Brett Cecil combined to pitch four scoreless innings, lifting the Blue Jays to a 5-2 victory in 10 innings over the A's.

Janssen pitched a perfect ninth inning, earning the win and improving to 4-0. Cecil pitched a one-two-three 10th for his first career save.

"I think we all have a high expectation for ourselves," Janssen said. "We've got some talented arms down there. The combination of one, not giving in, and two, some guys with electric stuff. As long as we don't walk hitters, for the most part, we'll be in a good spot."

The Blue Jays scored three runs in the top of the 10th, snapping a 2-2 tie. A's right-handed reliever Jesse Chavez gave up a leadoff infield single to Jose Reyes, who took second on catcher Stephen Vogt's second passed ball of the game. With one out, Jose Bautista grounded an opposite-field double into the right-field corner, bringing Reyes home.

After Chavez walked Edwin Encarnacion intentionally, left-hander Jerry Blevins took over but walked pinch hitter Mark De Rosa then gave up a two-run single to Colby Rasmus.

Cecil, a closer during his college career at Maryland, came on in the 10th and notched his first big-league save.

"It was awesome," Cecil said. "Heart pounding, adrenaline and everything. That's what I absolutely loved about it in college. Same thing about it today."

The Blue Jays beat the A's for the second straight game and captured their second straight series, winning two of three games.

Colon and Dickey dueled for six innings but both exited with the score tied 2-2.

Colon (14-3) allowed six hits and two runs -- one earned -- while striking out one and walking three. Typically a strike-throwing machine, Colon struggled with his command and threw 97 pitches, just 53 for strikes.

"It didn't look like it was Bartolo's best stuff," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "For me, it's not necessarily the velocity. Sometimes the velocity's down a little bit, which it's been. But more of the ball-strike ratio today. Usually he's way above in his strikes. But you know what? At the end of the day he gives you six innings and only gives up two run, and if that's a bad day for him, we'll take that anytime."

Dickey allowed two runs, both of them unearned. He gave up six hits while striking out three and walking one. Dickey (8-11), who went 20-6 for the Mets last year and won the National League's Cy Young Award winner, hasn't won a game since July 1 against Detroit. But he gave Toronto its second straight quality start, a day after Mark Buehrle threw seven shutout innings in a 5-0 victory.

"With his performance he really issued a challenge to us," Dickey said of Buehrle. "He's done a great job and I was glad today to at least keep us in the ballgame. I didn't have a dominant kuckleball, that's for sure. But I was able to change speeds with it, mix in my fastball enough."

The A's loaded the bases with no outs against Dickey in the fourth but came away empty. For the game, they went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position, a problem that has plagued them for some time.

"Games like that, those are the situations you need to capitalize on," Melvin said. "You don' t need to get a hit to drive in a run. When you have low scoring games or close games, that's what ends up biting you. It's either that or defensive plays. It doesn't necessarily come down to a hit. We struggled with that across the board today."

After Dickey's work day ended, the Blue Jays' bullpen took over. Loup retired the first four A's he faced before giving up singles to Josh Donaldson and Seth Smith in the eighth. But Delabar, who struck out three A's on nine pitches in the eighth inning Tuesday night, struck out Chris Young and Vogt to end the inning.

"We are fortunate in that we've become accustomed to that, which is a real nice luxury to have," Dickey said of the bullpen's solid effort. "They've kept us in so many games."

Right-hander Ryan Cook threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings after Colon exited, and Sean Doolittle came on to get the final two outs in the eighth. Closer Grant Balfour pitched a perfect ninth, striking out all three batters he faced then turned the game over to Chavez.

The Blue Jays entered the game with 71 errors, fourth-most among American League teams, and added four more to their total, two of those on balls that appeared to be lost in the sun. Second baseman Macier Izturis had two errors, while Bautista and Dickey had one apiece.

NOTES: Infielder Alberto Callaspo reported to the A's on Wednesday morning, just hours after he was acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Angels. He pinch hit in the seventh inning and remained in the game at second base. Callaspo, who went 0-for-2, learned that he had been traded midway through the Angels' game Tuesday night against the Texas Rangers at Arlington. "I was just kind of surprised," Callaspo said. "I'll try to keep doing my job, play 100 percent and try to help the team."... RF Josh Reddick was scratched from the lineup because he had a lingering headache Wednesday morning after getting kneed in the head Tuesday night by Jed Lowrie during a collision in the bottom of the seventh inning. ... Infielder Adam Rosales was designated for assignment Wednesday, clearing a spot on the roster for Callaspo.
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