Braden throws gem; A’s beat Blue Jays 6-2
OAKLAND – Dallas Braden likened the Toronto lineup to a beer league softball team. He was lucky enough to avoid the barrels.
Braden pitched three-hit ball for seven innings, Jack Cust drove in the go-ahead run and the Oakland Athletics ended a four-game losing streak by beating the Blue Jays 6-2 Tuesday night.
“I tried to utilize their aggressiveness against them,” Braden said. “I can’t give in because they can do some damage. It’s almost like staring down the barrel of a beer league team because they can hit home runs almost at will. You can’t make any mistakes and you have to get in and out of the zone as quickly as possible.”
Coco Crisp had three hits and an RBI, Daric Barton and Mark Ellis each drove in a run and the A’s finally mustered some early offense in winning for the 11th time in their last 16 home games.
“It definitely feels good to get it started,” said Crisp, who also stole two bases and scored twice. “I felt pretty good. Before the game, while we were still in the clubhouse I joked, ‘He has a no-hitter.”‘
Braden (8-8) allowed two runs, one earned, and improved to 4-1 since coming off the disabled list July 20. He walked two and struck out five.
“He used his changeup to his advantage and sprinkled just enough fastballs to both sides of the plate,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “He’s been very consistent and giving us a lot of innings.”
Craig Breslow got two outs in the eighth before getting hit on the left forearm by Yunel Escobar’s line drive and leaving the game. Michael Wuertz recorded four outs for his sixth save.
“It’s not anything to worry about,” Breslow said. “It’s a little tight right now. It all happened so fast.”
Brian Tallet (2-5) took the loss in relief of starter Brandon Morrow, who lasted four innings in his first start since his near no-hitter that included 17 strikeouts Aug. 8 against Tampa Bay.
Given extra rest after throwing a career-high 137 pitches in that one, Morrow allowed two runs and four hits Tuesday. He walked three and struck out two.
“Morrow pitched OK,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. “He had not pitched in nine days so he did OK for a guy who hadn’t pitched in so long. He had a pitch limit.”
Jose Bautista got his 90th RBI in the first to put the Blue Jays ahead.
Morrow gave up consecutive doubles to Crisp and Barton leading off the bottom half and later threw a wild pitch that allowed Barton to score, giving the A’s a 2-1 lead.
“I wasn’t too sharp,” Morrow said. “I seemed to be behind a lot and ran my pitch counts up, had a few walks. I only got four innings out of the 80 pitches. I feel lucky to keep us in it.”
Lyle Overbay singled home the tying run for Toronto in the seventh.
Tallet gave up singles to Crisp and Barton to open the bottom of the seventh and was replaced by Shawn Camp, who struck out Conor Jackson after Crisp stole third.
Cust hit a sharp RBI grounder to second baseman Aaron Hill, who tagged Barton but threw wildly past first base for an error that allowed Cust to reach second. Crisp scored the go-ahead run on the play and Cust came around moments later when Ellis singled.
Rajai Davis then singled to left and Ellis scored when Travis Snider misplayed the ball for an error, making it 5-2.
Crisp added an RBI single in the eighth.
NOTES: Morrow matched his second-shortest outing of the season. … Tallet has allowed runs in 10 of his 18 appearances. … Overbay was 0 for 10 before his seventh-inning single. … A’s RHP Andrew Bailey threw an 18-pitch simulated game and will likely throw at least one more before returning to action. … Barton snapped an 0-for-12 streak with his first-inning double. … Crisp has 13 stolen bases since the All-Star break, matching Juan Pierre of the Chicago White Sox for most in the majors. … While Morrow lost his no-hit bid on Evan Longoria’s two-out single in the ninth, it was Braden who pitched the majors’ first perfect game this year May 9 against the Rays.
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