Blue Jays-Athletics Preview

The Associated Press

The Oakland Athletics have gotten back to winning during a series with the slumping Toronto Blue Jays, and a matchup with struggling left-hander Ricky Romero would appear to give them a good chance to keep it going.

Oakland, though, might not have hot-hitting Yoenis Cespedes in the lineup for its attempt at a third consecutive win Saturday.

Before facing Toronto, the A's (58-48) appeared to be cooling off from an 18-3 stretch. They had lost three of four and dropped back-to-back games for the first time in a little more than a month.

Oakland kept its skid brief with a 4-1 victory over the Blue Jays (51-55) on Thursday, then won 5-4 in 15 innings Friday. The latest victory came despite closer Ryan Cook giving up a tying three-run homer to Jeff Mathis with two outs in the ninth, his third blown save in less than a week.

Jemile Weeks scored the winning run following his third hit of the night, a triple, and sent Toronto to a sixth consecutive loss.

"The fans were getting into and it seems more like a family atmosphere," said Coco Crisp, whose sacrifice fly drove in Weeks. "It's like giving them something extra."

The Blue Jays' skid is their longest since a nine-game losing streak May 19-27, 2009, and Romero (8-8, 5.69 ERA) seems unlikely to help end it. The left-hander has lost his last seven starts while posting a 9.44 ERA, and the A's tagged him for eight runs over a career-low 1 1-3 innings July 25.

Before that game, the California native was 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA in six starts against Oakland.

Romero fared a little better in his most recent outing Monday in Seattle, allowing four runs over six innings in a 4-1 defeat. He gave up one run over his final four frames.

"I think overall, there was much more conviction and trust and belief in his stuff," manager John Farrell said. "Still not to the point where we've seen Ricky pitch many times before, but I think this is a step in the right direction."

Romero surely won't mind if he doesn't have to face Cespedes, who is batting .432 with five homers and 19 RBIs over his past 21 games but left Friday's win after spraining his right wrist. His status for the rest of the series is uncertain.

Cespedes has hit .375 with four walks and five RBIs in the season series with the Blue Jays, helping Oakland win four of five. He had an RBI double off Romero in last month's 16-0 win in Toronto.

A.J. Griffin (3-0, 2.51) was the winning pitcher in that game, striking out a career-best nine over six innings, and will oppose Romero again.

The A's have won six of the rookie right-hander's seven starts. Griffin gave up three runs and five hits over seven innings Monday in another 15-inning victory, 4-3 over Tampa Bay.

Oakland has won 10 consecutive one-run games.

Toronto also could be short-handed in this game after Brett Lawrie left in the first inning Friday with tightness in his rib cage.

Brandon Inge, owner of a 13-game hitting streak, is 1 for 10 in his career against Romero.

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