OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — With several star players sidelined, the Toronto Blue Jays are counting on everybody else staying ready to handle any role, any time.
Pinch-hitter Santiago Espinal hit a tiebreaking double in Toronto’s three-run 10th inning on the first pitch thrown by Francisco Pérez that scored Mason McCoy from second base, and the Blue Jays beat the Oakland Athletics 6-5 on Monday.
First baseman Brandon Belt was out sick, while third baseman Matt Chapman and catcher Danny Jansen are each injured.
“Everyone knows who we’re missing and guys stepping up has been awesome,” manager John Schneider said. “Guys being ready to play all the time in any situation, it feels like we’re using everybody almost every game. … It says a lot about how they work, how they prepare. Especially lately the message was everyone’s going to be ready at any given time.”
The A’s made it interesting when Lawrence Butler hit his second home run of the game with a two-run drive against winner Jordan Romano (5-5).
Cavan Biggio added an RBI single in the 10th as insurance for the Blue Jays, who are 3-1 so far on their six-game West Coast road trip. That chased Pérez (1-2) and Spencer Horwitz added an RBI double.
The A’s had their three-game home winning streak snapped and fell to 7-23 this season against the AL East. Oakland hasn’t had a home winning streak of more than three games in one season since five straight victories at the Coliseum from Aug. 4-20, 2021.
Esteury Ruiz stole his AL-leading 55th and 56th bases in the ninth to put the go-ahead run on third but the A’s couldn’t bring him home.
Oakland also missed a chance the previous inning. Jay Jackson gave up Nick Allen’s leadoff single in the eighth then Genesis Cabrera entered to retire Ryan Noda on a groundout.
Jordan Diaz hit a tying home run with one out in the seventh off Yimi García after Toronto starter José Berríos exited. Berríos struck out seven over six innings for the Blue Jays but missed a chance to win for the first time in nearly a month, now having gone 0-3 over his last five starts since beating the Red Sox in Boston on Aug. 5.
The Blue Jays are trying not to dwell on who’s out.
“We have to keep playing, keep going, keep staying together like a team and good things are going to happen,” Berríos said.
Kevin Kiermaier’s RBI groundout in the fifth broke up a scoreless game then George Springer doubled home a run one batter later and Biggio followed with a run-scoring single.
Butler homered in the fifth and Ryan Noda connected in the sixth for the A’s, who inserted Luis Medina into the lineup as pitcher after he came off the injured list to start for the first time since Aug. 12 at Washington.
The right-hander escaped trouble in the fourth. He issued a one-out walk to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. then hit Horwitz with a pitch before inducing Whit Merrifield’s inning-ending double play.
The 23-year-old Butler, Oakland’s new center fielder, notched his first two-homer game in just his 23rd career game.
“That’s pretty cool,” he said, “another thing you dream about as a kid, hitting two home runs in the big leagues.”
Umpire: Plate umpire Dan Bellino took a ball to the mask in the seventh and was checked by the A’s athletic training staff but stayed in the game.
Blue Jays: 1B Belt, who missed Sunday’s as a late scratch with lower back tightness, wasn’t at the ballpark Monday because of the stomach flu. … Jansen, who went on the 10-day injured list Saturday with a fractured right middle finger, will see a hand specialist.
Athletics: RHP Mason Miller, sidelined since May 8 with tightness in his pitching forearm, could be activated from the IL this week. … The A’s reinstated Medina from the 15-day IL after he missed 15 games with a blister on his right index finger and optioned LHP Kirby Snead to Triple-A Las Vegas.
RHP Chris Bassitt (13-7, 3.81 ERA) faces his former A’s club for the second time this season and owns a 3.32 ERA over three career outings against them. Oakland counters with LHP Ken Waldichuk (2-7, 5.92).