TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson has the ball from his first big league home run, and it's going to sit beside a pile of splinters in his trophy case.
The rookie catcher hit a two-run homer to help Gio Gonzalez win his second straight start, and the Oakland Athletics snapped a four-game skid with a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday."He was the show today," Gonzalez said of Donaldson, who was called up Friday from Triple-A when Kurt Suzuki went on the DL. "He was great."The homer was the first major league hit for Donaldson, who struck out as a pinch hitter and caught one inning of Friday's 10-2 loss, but said the brief stint helped calm his nerves."Last night it was in another area code," Donaldson said. "By the third pitch I was about ready to pass out. Tonight I felt a little bit more comfortable."Donaldson got the ball back from the homer, but lost his lumber when he shattered his bat on a pitch from Scott Downs in the eighth, grounding out to first base in the process."I really liked that bat, I was fond of it," Donaldson said dejectedly. "I'll definitely keep the bat if I can find it."Eric Patterson's RBI single gave the Athletics a 1-0 lead in the second and Oakland made it 4-0 with a three-run fourth against former teammate Dana Eveland (2-1).
Jake Fox led off with a double and scored on Donaldson's one-out homer into the left-field bullpen. One out later, Cliff Pennington singled, stole second and scored on a base hit by Rajai Davis.Oakland manager Bob Geren said Donaldson's shot "proved to be the biggest hit of the game."The Athletics gave Donaldson the silent treatment when he first got back to the dugout after circling the bases."Fox got all the love at the beginning," Donaldson said. "They were like 'Way to go, Fox,' and I joined in. I was like 'Good job, Fox, way to get on base.' I was like, 'Whatever, I don't need any credit. I'm just glad to be here right now."Donaldson's shot snapped a streak of 59 innings without a homer by Toronto's pitchers."One thing I remember about him from when we played in spring training a year ago is that he hits the ball pretty well to left, he's got some pop," said Eveland, who was traded from Oakland to Toronto in February. "I just didn't get it in enough."Gonzalez (3-1) was perfect through the first three innings, but Toronto's Fred Lewis led off the fourth by beating out an infield single. Aaron Hill walked and both runners moved up on a grounder before Lewis scored on Vernon Wells' fielder's choice.Toronto cut it to 4-3 with a two-out rally in the seventh. Tyson Ross replaced Gonzalez with Jose Bautista on first, but pinch hitter Lyle Overbay bounced a double over the head of first baseman Daric Barton. The relay throw arrived at the plate ahead of Bautista, but Donaldson didn't turn to face the runner and he eluded the tag."[The throw] was up the line a little bit towards first base," Donaldson said. "I caught it and just tried to spin back as fast as I could to get him on the backside of the plate. He slid his hand in and then pulled it back so I missed the tag, and then he swept his other hand in there. He did a good job."Fred Lewis followed with an RBI double but was thrown out at third to end the inning. Lewis said he lost track of the ball as it bounced up against the backlit scoreboard in right center, and acknowledged he should have held up at second."I always want my guys to be aggressive but you have to make sure you can make it," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "That's just something he'll learn."Gonzalez allowed two runs and three hits in 6 2/3 innings."I thought his fastball was as good as I've ever seen it," Geren said. "It was like he really stayed behind it, the velocity was way up and the command of it was really good."Ross got one out and Brad Ziegler got two outs in the eighth. Andrew Bailey got the final four outs for his third save.Eveland allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out one, and has not won in three starts.
Oakland won for the first time in seven road games. ... RHP Michael Wuertz (shoulder) threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings at Triple-A Sacramento on Friday and could be activated when the Athletics return home, manager Bob Geren said. ... Athletics OF Ryan Sweeney got the day off to rest his knees after playing four straight games on artificial turf.