TORONTO - The Oakland Athletics found a way to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 on Sunday, at times in spite of themselves.
They won on a two-out, two-run double by Alberto Callaspo that snapped a 3-3 tie and keyed a three-run eighth inning against left-hander Darren Oliver (3-3).
The A's were able to escape some jams that could have reversed the result before 45,312 at Rogers Centre.
The A's made two errors in the second and allowed only one run. Closer Grant Balfour allowed a run but left the bases loaded in the ninth to earn his 30th save.
"Excruciating again," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We find a way to win the game but it wasn't pretty. Our defense wasn't great early on. Obviously the ninth inning was a bit of a battle but we ended up getting what is most important."
Ryan Cook (4-2) pitched 1 1/3 innings to get the win.
Brandon Moss hit a two-run homer in the sixth for the A's, who have won just three of their past 10 games. Eric Sogard had his career-best 14-game hit streak end with an 0-for-5 outing.
The Blue Jays left the bases loaded in the second and fourth as well as the ninth, stranding 15 runners in all. The A's left 10.
"Yeah, that was the difference in the game," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We put some pressure on them early, a couple times with the bases loaded and of course there late. We just couldn't get that big, decisive hit. And then the big home run late, the two-run job put them up and then we battled back.
"We had them on the ropes. Of course, they got the three in the eighth. It was one of those games going back and forth. They got the big hit, we didn't."
Balfour gave up a run on a walk to Edwin Encarnacion and a two-out double by Brett Lawrie. He then walked pinch hitter J.P. Arencibia and Rajai Davis before Jose Reyes grounded out.
"I was horrible today, no doubt about it," Balfour said. "I got the job done, that's the main thing."
Josh Reddick, who did not hit a homer on Sunday after hitting five in the first two games of the four-game series, started the eighth-inning rally with a one-out infield single to second. Oliver walked Josh Donaldson.
Callaspo, acquired July 30 in a trade with the Los Angeles Angels, hit a drive to the left-field wall. Outfielder Emilio Bonifacio had a chance at the ball but couldn't bring it in as two runs scored.
"I thought he was going to catch it," Callaspo said. "I hit the ball pretty good but not enough to go out. I'm happy he didn't catch that."
Stephen Vogt and Chris Young singled to finish the rally and add a run.
A's right-hander A.J. Griffin allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and six walks (one intentional) in 5 2/3 innings. Blue Jays' right-hander R.A. Dickey allowed three runs, two walks and six hits, including a home run in seven innings.
"Obviously, anytime you can win a game where you've got a guy like R.A. Dickey on the mound, anytime you can pull a game out like that, it's great," Vogt said. "Our pitching staff was phenomenal today, Griffin had a great start and the bullpen did what they do best, came in and shut the game down. To tack on those insurance runs is huge for us. It was a really big win for us."
The Blue Jays had two walks and a single and Oakland committed two errors in the second inning, but the result was only one run. Adam Lind reached first base on an error by Moss on a grounder to first to open the inning. Colby Rasmus walked. Lawrie forced him at second with a grounder to second, but shortstop Sogard was charged with an error on the throw to first. Lind scored.
The A's took a 3-1 lead in the sixth. Yoenis Cespedes led off with a double down the left-field line, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Donaldson's single. Moss followed with his 18th home run of the season, a drive to center.
"I can almost take the home run to Moss," Dickey said. "It wasn't a bad pitch actually. It was down in the zone and he just went down and got it and hit it out to center.
"It was the double, the 2-0 knuckleball that was kind of a get-me-over knuckleball to Cespedes. I didn't think he would be swinging and he nailed it pretty good.
"The previous times that I'd faced him I thought he would just try to get on base and work a walk. So I flipped him one in there."
The Blue Jays tied the game in their half of the sixth. Josh Thole walked, and with one out Bonifacio singled. Thole scored on a single by Reyes that handcuffed Moss. Maicer Izturis hit a sacrifice fly.
NOTES: Oakland entered Sunday in second place in the American League West, one game behind the Texas Rangers. It was the first time since July 1 that the A's have not had at least a share of first. ... Reyes singled in the first inning on Sunday to extend his hit streak to nine games, the third time this season he has had a hit streak of at least seven games. ... The Blue Jays wore red uniform tops for Canada Baseball Day. ... The series finale is Monday afternoon with Toronto LHP J.A. Happ (2-2, 5.84 ERA) facing Oakland RHP Dan Straily (6-6, 4.41 ERA). ..RHP Josh Johnson was supposed to start Monday but has been put off until Wednesday with slight stiffness in his forearm. ....RHP Todd Redmond will be called up from Triple-A Buffalo to pitch Tuesday against Boston in the opener of a three-game series.