TORONTO (AP) -- Greg Smith survived a shaky first inning to deliver an impressive debut for the Oakland Athletics.
After a shaky first inning in which he gave up three runs, Smith responded with five shutout innings and the Athletics rallied to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-3 on Wednesday night."You've just got to get your bearings and then, after that, you get into the flow of the game," the left-handed Smith said. "Once you get your bearings, it's all the same. It just becomes baseball, it's the natural thing you've always done."The A's scored four runs in the ninth to get the win. Mark Ellis went 4-for-5 with two stolen bases and the tying triple in the ninth."It felt good to come through in that last inning and get a win," Ellis said.Oakland closer Huston Street pitched around a single and a walk in the ninth for his second save. Both have come in the past two games.Jeremy Accardo (0-2) blew his first save in four chances, hitting Travis Buck to begin the ninth, then giving up Ellis' triple. Daric Barton struck out and Jack Cust was walked intentionally to bring up Emil Brown, who hit a grounder to third. Marco Scutaro went to the plate instead of trying for the double play, but his throw sailed high and wide, allowing Ellis to score.Brian Wolfe replaced Accardo and, after a wild pitch advanced the runners, gave up a two-run double to Bobby Crosby."We've got a team that has a lot of talent," Crosby said. "We've been saying it all spring."Oakland scored the winning run in the ninth inning for the second straight night. On Tuesday in Toronto, Ryan Sweeney broke a tie with a triple off Accardo."You're not going to do that a lot, beat closers," manager Bob Geren said. "When you do, it's special. We're very happy with the outcome tonight."Fernando Hernandez (1-0) worked one hitless inning for the win in his major league debut."It was great, it was amazing," Hernandez said.Starting in place of the injured Justin Duchscherer (strained right biceps), Smith worked six innings and allowed three runs -- two earned -- and two hits, both singles. He walked five and struck out five."He got his change-up working and kept the ball down in the zone," Geren said. "He kept pounding that strike zone and changing speeds."I'm happy for him," Geren added. "He's a good person too. You like seeing people have a game like that first time out."Scutaro said Smith kept the Blue Jays off balance."He was working both sides with the two-seamer and the cutter," Marco Scutaro said. "When a lefty can do that, it's tough."Toronto got to Smith with three runs in the first. David Eckstein was hit by a pitch, Shannon Stewart walked, Alex Rios struck out and Vernon Wells hit an RBI single.Frank Thomas walked to load the bases for Aaron Hill, who hit a sacrifice fly to center. Barton took the cutoff from outfielder Ryan Sweeney and tried to get Stewart at the plate, but his throw tipped off the glove of catcher Kurt Suzuki, allowing Wells to score."Once he got the jitters out he was very impressive," Crosby said. "We can use that again in the future, for sure."The Athletics clawed back with two in the fourth. Crosby singled home Barton and Cust came around when Jack Hannahan drew a bases-loaded walk.Toronto right-hander Dustin McGowan allowed two runs and seven hits in five innings. He walked three and struck out seven.
Oakland 1B Dan Johnson was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Smith ... Rios singled in the seventh and has now reached base safely in 19 consecutive games, including the 2007 season, the longest active streak in the American League. Rios finished 1-for-5.