Blue Jays overcome 2 more HRs by Reddick, top A’s
TORONTO (AP) — After slumping for so long, Josh Reddick is struggling to comprehend his sudden power surge.
Reddick hit two home runs, a day after connecting three times for Oakland, but the Toronto Blue Jays got shots from Jose Bautista and Jose Reyes to beat the Athletics 5-4 Saturday.
Reddick matched the major league record for homers over two games.
“The confidence is definitely there right now, especially the way I’ve swung the bat the last two days,” Reddick said. “I’m going into the batter’s box a lot more comfortable and feeling like they can’t get me out right now.”
Reddick had five home runs coming into the series but has doubled that total in just two games. He hit 32 last year in his first full season.
“He’s on fire,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “His home runs have been down this year, but he seems to be picking it up.”
After launching a trio of longballs Friday night in a 14-6 romp, Reddick kept up the pace with a two-run drive off Mark Buehrle in the second inning and a leadoff home run in the ninth against Casey Janssen.
“He must be seeing a softball right now because he’s hitting everything out,” Buehrle said.
It was Reddick’s fourth career multihomer game, and the first time this season he’s homered in consecutive games.
“It’s kind of unbelievable,” Reddick said.
Mark McGwire is the only other Oakland player to go deep five time in two games. McGwire did so twice, most recently in June 1995.
“Constant work is finally paying off, watching video is finally paying off,” said Reddick, who snapped an 0-for-20 slump with Friday’s first homer. “Hopefully this is something I can stick with and continue doing it for the rest of the year.”
Oakland began the day in a virtual tie with Texas for the AL West lead. The A’s lost for the seventh time in nine games.
“I don’t think we’re worried about it yet,” Reddick said. “We’ve got over a month and a half left and we’ve got a few more games against those guys to gain ground, hopefully.”
Buehrle (8-7) won his third straight decision. He allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings.
“I kind of feel like I stole a win today,” Buehrle said. “It’s one of those ones where you don’t feel like you deserve, but we won the game and that’s what matters.”
Janssen, Toronto’s sixth pitcher, worked a nervy ninth for his 21st save in 23 opportunities.
After Reddick homered to begin the ninth, Alberto Callaspo singled and was replaced by pinch-runner Eric Sogard. Coco Crisp beat out a bunt single, but Sogard was forced out at third on pinch-hitter Stephen Vogt’s bunt. Jed Lowrie flied out and Janssen ended it by fanning Yoenis Cespedes on a breaking ball.
Vogt batted hit for Daniel Norris, who had gone 3 for 4. Norris was having back spasms and is unlikely to start Sunday, manager Bob Melvin said.
Bautista hit a two-run homer in the first, his 27th. Reyes added some valuable insurance with a solo shot into the second deck in right in the seventh, his ninth.
Making his first major league start, Sonny Gray (0-1) allowed four runs, two of them earned, and four hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out five.
“Everything he did today was impressive,” Melvin said.
Gray said he struggled to command his fastball in the first two innings, but was able to settle down.
“The longer the game went, the more comfortable I started becoming,” Gray said. “Once I was able to get the ball down and start getting ahead, it was a night and day difference.”
Oakland’s top pick in the 2011 draft, Gray pitched four scoreless innings of relief in two appearances last month.
Gray fell behind quickly when Maicer Izturis drew a one-out walk in the first and Bautista followed with a line-drive homer to center, his second in as many games.
Toronto made it 3-2 with an unearned run in the second. Brett Lawrie struck out swinging but reached on a passed ball. He went to second when Rajai Davis walked, moved to third on a fly ball and scored on a grounder by Reyes.
The Blue Jays took a 4-2 lead with another unearned run in the third. Bautista hit a leadoff single and Edwin Encarnacion followed with a grounder to third, but Josh Donaldson’s errant throw to second was high. One out later, Bautista scored on a single by Colby Rasmus.
“We could have played a little cleaner and probably kept those two off the board,” Melvin said. “If we execute a little better in this game, we win it.”
The Athletics chased Buehrle and cut it to 4-3 in the sixth. Cespedes led off with an infield single, Donaldson doubled and Nate Freiman hit a sacrifice fly.
Reyes padded Toronto’s lead with a two-out shot off Ryan Cook in the seventh. It was the first home run surrendered by Cook since Aug. 4, 2012.
NOTES: The Blue Jays placed LHP Juan Perez on the 60-day DL with a torn elbow ligament and recalled RHP Mickey Storey from Triple-A Buffalo. ... To make room on the roster for Gray, Oakland designated INF Adam Rosales for assignment. It’s the third time in 11 days that Rosales has been designated — twice by Oakland and once by Texas. ... Blue Jays C J.P. Arencibia returned to the lineup after missing two games with a sore right knee. ... Anthony Bennett, the first Canadian player to be picked first overall in the NBA Draft, threw out the first pitch.