Recap: Oakland vs. Toronto
07/03/2014 8:50 PM
07/04/2014 7:41 PM
Oakland, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Nick Punto broke a scoreless tie in the 12th inning with a run-scoring double that gave the Oakland Athletics a 1-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Punto did not receive an RBI on his slashing hit down the left-field line, which Toronto's Melky Cabrera misplayed in the corner to enable Derek Norris to race home all the way from first.
The hit was only the fifth of the game for Oakland and the only one allowed by Blue Jays reliever Chad Jenkins (0-1) in two innings of work.
Toronto, which had a 42-day stay atop the AL East end following a 4-1 loss in Thursday's opener of this four-game set, was dealt a fifth loss in seven games despite an outstanding start from Marcus Stroman. The rookie went seven strong, limiting the A's to three hits and striking out seven.
"The pitching is definitely stepping up, but we haven't been able to do anything offensively the last two games," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons remarked.
Oakland's Tommy Milone also turned in a quality effort, yielding just four hits and a walk while fanning six over six innings.
Dan Otero (7-1), the last of six Oakland relievers that each tossed a scoreless inning, worked around a one-out single in the top of the 12th to preserve the scoreless deadlock, and Norris coaxed an eight-pitch walk against Jenkins to start the A's half of the inning to put the winning run on.
Two batters later, Punto took a fastball the other way and Cabrera, who saved at least a run with a sliding catch earlier in the game, let the ball get under his glove as Norris came barreling home without a throw.
The win was the A's major league-best 10th (10-5) in extra-inning games this season.
"I don't know one guy that thinks we're going to lose a game when we're going to extra innings," said Milone. "We have that confidence, we have the track record, we've been able to get it done in the past, and I think that's what helps us when we do get into extras."
A game where the teams combined to go 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position was dominated by the pitchers, and the starters in particular.
Milone allowed two of Toronto's first four hitters to reach base, then proceeded to set down 10 of the next 11 before Steve Tolleson opened the fifth with a pop-fly double and was left stranded. The Blue Jays put two more aboard in the sixth, but Milone fanned Brad Glenn on his final pitch to keep the game scoreless.
"I felt really good," Milone said. "Really from the beginning I was able to work the counts, go in-and-out, up-and-down when I needed to."
Oakland's best chance against Stroman came in the third inning, when Jed Lowrie drew a leadoff walk and Coco Crisp singled to put two on with one out. After the young righty came up with a big strikeout of John Jaso, Cabrera robbed Yoenis Cespedes of a hit and likely RBI with a diving stab of a sinking liner.
Stroman was very stingy thereafter, permitting just two more hits and a walk while striking out the side in the sixth.
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