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.
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|August 03, 2012||Brett Lawrie||Day-to-Day||Left game - rib cage tightness|
|July 26, 2012||Joel Carreno||15-Day DL|
|July 26, 2012||J.P. Arencibia||15-Day DL||Broken right hand|
|July 26, 2012||Adam Lind||15-Day DL||Mid-back strain|
|July 25, 2012||J.P. Arencibia||Day-to-Day||Broken right hand|
|July 17, 2012||Jason Frasor||15-Day DL||Right forearm tightness|
|August 03, 2012||Seth Smith||15-Day DL||Left hamstring strain|
|August 03, 2012||Yoenis Cespedes||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained right wrist|
|July 28, 2012||Coco Crisp||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left hamstring tightness|
|July 20, 2012||Cliff Pennington||15-Day DL||Left elbow tendinitis|
|June 23, 2012||Collin Cowgill||15-Day DL||Sprained left ankle|
|June 23, 2012||Collin Cowgill||15-Day DL||Sprained left ankle|
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Toronto manager John Farrell , who celebrated his 50th birthday, said luck had nothing to do with it.
"We earned that one," he said. "It's been a while since we shook hands after a game. Oddly enough, we had to play another extra-inning game to do it."
David Cooper hit a tying homer in the ninth inning and Edwin Encarnacion scored on catcher George Kottaras ' throwing error in the 11th, lifting the Blue Jays over the Oakland Athletics 3-1 Saturday.
The Blue Jays ended a six-game losing streak a day after they fell to the A's 5-4 in 15 innings.
"We took some calculated chances and gambled on a few pitches," Farrell said. "That last inning we rolled the dice, trying to make something happen."
Cooper hit a solo homer off Ryan Cook with one out in the ninth. Cook gave up a tying, three-run shot in the ninth on Friday night.
Encarnacion hit a leadoff single in the 11th against Jerry Blevins (4-1). Encarnacion stole second with one out and Rajai Davis walked.
As Jeff Mathis struck out, Encarnacion stole third and scored on Kottaras' error. Moises Sierra , who had three hits, added an RBI double.
"I guess you can't walk every game off," said A's third baseman Brandon Inge , who had a 13-game hitting streak end.
Jesse Chavez (1-1), promoted from Triple-A on Friday, got the win and Darren Oliver recorded his second save.
The A's had won three in a row. They loaded the bases in the 10th, but Josh Reddick was called out on strikes.
Oakland went into extra innings for the sixth time in its last 24 games, a span that includes a pair of 15-inning wins.
"You're not going to win all those games, yet you expect to," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We didn't come through this time."
A's rookie right-hander A.J. Griffin left with two outs in the second with tightness in his pitching shoulder.
Griffin, who lowered his ERA to 2.42, allowed a leadoff single to Yunel Escobar and then retired five straight before being replaced by Jordan Norberto , who gave up four hits over a career-high 3 2-3 innings.
Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero gave up a run and three hits in seven innings. He remained winless over his last eight starts, in which he received a total of six runs of support.
"It comes down to trusting my fastball," Romero said. "Everything else works on that. When I am able to control my fastball, the game comes to me instead of me falling behind."
Derek Norris hit an RBI double in the Oakland second. The A's loaded the bases with two outs in fifth but Romero struck out Michael Taylor .
Sierra was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Anthony Gose 's two-out double in the second.
The Blue Jays also had two runners in scoring position in the fourth before Norberto got Yan Gomes on a short flyout and Sierra on a grounder.
NOTES: Davis extended his hitting streak to a season-high nine games. ... Toronto RHP Brandon Morrow threw 43 pitches Friday in his second rehabilitation start for Class A Dunedin. ... LHP Aaron Laffey (2-2, 4.20) goes for the Blue Jays in Sunday's series finale against LHP Tommy Milone (9-8, 3.68). ... The A's became the first AL team to win a pair of 15-inning games on the same homestand.