TORONTO -- A more aggressive style is paying off for pitcher Liam Hendriks.
Hendriks won his season debut, Steve Tolleson hit a two-run home run and the Toronto Blue Jays were victorious for the ninth time in 11 games with a 3-2 defeat of the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.Promoted from Triple-A to face the Athletics, who came in with the best record in the majors, Hendriks (1-0) allowed one run and three hits in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander walked three and struck out three.After going 2-13 with a 6.06 ERA in 30 games over three seasons with Minnesota, Hendriks said the chance to pitch for the Blue Jays was "huge.""I was given opportunities in Minnesota and didn't capitalize on them," the Australian right-hander said. "Now I've got a different mindset coming into the season, getting aggressive and getting after guys early and it's paying dividends already."Hendriks was 5-0 with a 1.48 ERA at Triple-A before being promoted, and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is willing to see how long the unbeaten streak can last."I would definitely say he's earned another start," Gibbons said.Hendriks came in 0-1 with a 5.51 ERA in three career games against the Athletics, but was able to keep the AL West leaders in check."He was able to move his fastball around and elevate it," Oakland's Jed Lowrie said. "It looked like he kept guys just a little bit off balance."Brandon Moss homered for the seventh time in 18 games for the Athletics, who lost their second straight following a five-game winning streak. Oakland's loss was just its third in the past 14 games overall."We did the things that it takes to win a game, it just didn't happen," Moss said.Toronto evened its home record at 11-11 and beat Oakland for the fourth time in 12 meetings north of the border.Aaron Loup pitched 1 1/3 innings, Steve Delabar got one out in the eighth and Brett Cecil got the final two, striking out Derek Norris to strand runners at first and second.Casey Janssen finished for his sixth save in six chances, stranding Coco Crisp at third as Lowrie grounded out.Tolleson hit Toronto's ML-leading 68th home run when he connected off left-hander Scott Kazmir (5-2) in the second, his first of the year. The drive also scored Brett Lawrie, who reached on a fielder's choice.A throwing error by Kazmir helped the Blue Jays extend their lead in the third. Kevin Pillar hit a leadoff double and went to third when Kazmir wheeled and made a pickoff attempt even though shortstop Lowrie wasn't at the base. Jose Reyes followed with an RBI grounder."I should have held on to it," Kazmir said. "It ended up being the difference-maker in the game."Kazmir allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out two.Oakland used a single, a hit batter and a walk to load the bases with two outs in the fifth, but Hendriks got Lowrie to fly out to the warning track.Josh Donaldson walked to open the sixth and Moss followed with a fly ball to the warning track. After Donaldson was erased on a fielder's choice grounder by Yoenis Cespedes, Loup came on and retired Josh Reddick on a diving stop by first baseman Edwin Encarnacion.Pinch-hitting for Reddick, Alberto Callaspo cut it to 3-2 with a two-out RBI single in the eighth, but Cecil fanned Norris to keep the Blue Jays ahead.Moss had homered in the fourth inning to make it 3-1.
Toronto designated RH Esmil Rogers for assignment to clear a spot for Hendriks. ... Oakland's ML-best road record dropped to 18-8. ... Bench coach Chip Hale managed the Athletics while Bob Melvin attended his daughter's college graduation in New York City. Melvin will rejoin the team Saturday. ... Oakland's John Jaso was scratched from the starting lineup after complaining of soreness following three games on Tampa Bay's artificial turf. Jaso is scheduled to catch Saturday. Kyle Blanks replaced Jaso at DH. ... Hale said 2B Nick Punto (left calf) is unlikely to play Saturday. ... Toronto RH R.A. Dickey (4-4) faces Athletics RH Jesse Chavez (4-1) on Saturday.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 23: Scott Kazmir #26 of the Oakland Athletics delivers a pitch in the first inning during...