Athletics-Blue Jays Preview


For the second straight week, the Oakland Athletics hit Toronto Blue Jays pitchers hard in their series opener.

This weekend, the A's hope the rest of the set goes better than the last.

Coming off their highest-scoring game of the season, the visiting A's hope to end their recent struggles against Mark Buehrle on Saturday.

Oakland (65-49) pounded out 12 hits and scored eight runs off Esmil Rogers in a 9-4 home win over Toronto on July 29, then were held to two runs while dropping the next two games. The A's hit .216 with three homers and managed 15 runs while losing six of seven prior to Friday's 14-6 win over the Blue Jays (53-62).

Josh Reddick was hitless in his previous 20 at-bats before he homered three straight times and Oakland tagged Rogers for seven runs to snap a three-game skid with its 14-6 rout Friday. Reddick finished with five RBIs and Jed Lowrie had four hits with four RBIs, including a three-run home run, as the A's recorded five homers among their 17 hits.

"This could be a great thing for (Reddick) and us to kind of turn the corner and get hot at the right time,'' winning pitcher Jarrod Parker said.

Lowrie is 9 for 18 with this season against the Blue Jays, who have lost two straight and five of eight.

The A's hope for a better performance against Buehrle (7-7, 4.41 ERA), who followed Toronto's loss at Oakland last week by allowing five hits in seven innings of a 5-0 victory on July 30.

The left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA in his last four starts against the A's, but his 20-inning scoreless stretch ended Sunday when he gave up four of his five runs on two homers in six innings while not factoring in the decision of a 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

"I felt too good, and as a result I kept missing location,'' Buehrle said. "When I feel good I try to overthrow the ball more than I should instead of just worrying about location.''

Keeping the ball in the park remains the biggest challenge for Oakland starter A.J. Griffin (10-8, 3.91). The right-hander has served up 10 of his major-league leading 28 homers in his last four starts, which he has split while posting a 5.04 ERA.

He's the first Oakland pitcher to give up two or more home runs in four consecutive starts since Mark Redman in 2007. Three of the four runs Griffin allowed in 6 2-3 innings came on two homers in Sunday's 4-0 loss to Texas.

"It's just two pitches every game,'' he said. "I feel like I pitched real well all game. That's the way it goes."

Griffin improved to 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in three starts versus Toronto despite yielding a two-run homer to Edwin Encarnacion, plus solo shots to Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie along with one other hit in seven innings of a 9-4 victory.

Toronto All-Star Jose Bautista is 0 for 2 with a walk versus Griffin, but homered Friday and is 7 for 16 with two home runs and three RBIs against the A's this season.