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Toronto at Oakland

Oakland «00000204x680

Athletics 6, Blue Jays 3

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Manager Ken Macha studied a printout of Jason Kendall's career hitting stats this spring and quickly realized he'd be getting a quality at-bat out of his new catcher anywhere in the order.

Kendall, batting second again after two days in the No. 3 hole, hit a tiebreaking single to left in the eighth inning and the Oakland Athletics avoided a three-game sweep with a 6-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

"I don't care where I hit," said Kendall, who also had an RBI double in the sixth. "I'm not going to change my approach. Hitting's hard enough as it is. ... I hit it and hope it falls in somewhere. As a team we've been scuffling a little bit, but we're coming around."

Rookie Nick Swisher scored the go-ahead run after leading off the inning with a single against Jason Frasor (1-1) to go along with his sixth-inning solo home run.

Kiko Calero (1-0) pitched the eighth for the win as the A's avoided being swept by the Blue Jays in Oakland for the first time since Aug. 29-31, 1993.

Swisher started the eighth with a single to right, then advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Mark Ellis. Frasor intentionally walked Mark Kotsay to bring up Kendall, whose liner to left got down despite Reed Johnson's diving attempt at a catch.

The A's scored again when pitcher Scott Schoeneweis threw home trying to get Kotsay and catcher Gregg Zaun lost track of the ball and dropped it for an error. Keith Ginter added a two-run single for Oakland.

Alex Rios drove in a run in the ninth against A's closer Octavio Dotel with a groundout.

Johnson hit a monstrous homer onto an elevated camera platform in center, but the Blue Jays couldn't muster much other offense against rookie A's starter Joe Blanton.

"When you win the first two, you think sweep," Zaun said. "A couple of things broke down for us late in the game. We're playing good ball, getting good starting pitching, timely hitting and playing good defense. We just need to continue to do that."

Toronto (6-3), which won its first three series to start the year for the first time since beginning the 2001 season by taking six consecutive series, began the day with baseball's best record and still is one of only four teams with six wins. The Blue Jays are in first place in the AL East.

David Bush pitched seven strong innings for the Blue Jays but didn't get a decision. After Scott Hatteberg's single leading off the second, Bush retired 11 batters in a row before surrendering the homer to Swisher to start the sixth.

The A's had left 68 men on base -- tied with Pittsburgh for second most in the majors -- going into Wednesday's games, struggling to score runs at key times. So this was a step in the right direction.

Kendall is still adjusting to changing leagues and learning new pitchers after spending nine losing seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"A couple big hits by our No. 2 guy tonight," Macha said. "He hits .300 leadoff, he hits .300 batting second, he hits .300 batting third. He does not over swing and he's going to put the ball in play."

No one had more than one hit for Toronto, which begins a tough four-game series at Texas on Thursday with ace Roy Halladay on the mound.

Blanton, a rookie right-hander who won 11 games at Triple-A Sacramento last season, retired 15 of 17 before giving up Johnson's shot leading off the sixth. Blanton's eyes grew big as he turned and watched the ball sail out just to the left of the 400-feet sign, the only run he allowed and one of three hits.

He had a no-decision in his first major-league start last Friday at Tampa Bay and is still looking for his first victory at this level.

"I felt a little better than last time," Blanton said. "I worked on my mechanics and the ball was coming out of my hand a little better."

Blanton pitched six sharp innings then gave way to fellow rookie Huston Street, who the A's wanted to see in more difficult situations. The right-hander, a star closer for Texas who played only one season in the minors, gave up a double to Shea Hillenbrand to start the seventh, then a tying RBI single to Rios two batters later.


Both starters had thrown 62 pitches through five with 43 strikes. ... Toronto was 3-6 against the A's last year. ... Blue Jays' 3B Corey Koskie, whose neck stiffened up on a fourth-inning single in Tuesday's game, was held out as a precaution and should be ready to play Thursday at Texas. Hillenbrand started at third and helped turn a 5-4-3 double play in the second. "I tweaked it," Koskie said. "It's better today." ... Halladay headed to Arlington early Wednesday in preparation for his start.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game

K. Ginter
AB 4
R 0
H 1
HR 0

J. Kendall
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0

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Toronto Blue Jays
Frank Catalanotto, DH3010100 .318
Orlando Hudson, 2B4010002 .225
Vernon Wells, CF3010111 .194
Eric Hinske, 1B3100102 .367
Shea Hillenbrand, 3B4110011 .343
Gregg Zaun, C4010001 .308
Alex Rios, RF4012010 .321
Russ Adams, SS3000130 .217
Reed Johnson, LF4111012 .316
2B - Shea Hillenbrand (3, Street), Gregg Zaun (1, Dotel)
HR - Reed Johnson (1, Blanton)
RBI - Alex Rios 2 (7), Reed Johnson (1)
CS - Alex Rios (2, 2nd base by Street/Kendall)
Team LOB - 6
DP - Hillenbrand-Hudson-Hinske
E - Gregg Zaun (1, Missed catc h by Zaun)
Toronto Blue Jays
Dave Bush 7522131 3.75
Jason Frasor (L,1-1) 0.1231100 6.75
Scott Schoeneweis 0.1110100 10.80
Justin Speier 0.1000110 6.75
IBB - Kotsay by Jason Frasor
Pitches-Strikes - Dave Bush 92-60, Jason Frasor 12-4, Scott Schoeneweis 18-9, Justin Speier 10-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dave Bush 8-8, Jason Frasor 1-0, Scott Schoeneweis 2-0
Batters Faced - Dave Bush 25, Jason Frasor 4, Scott Schoeneweis 4, Justin Speier 2
Oakland Athletics
Mark Kotsay, CF3210100 .378
Jason Kendall, C4022000 .250
Eric Chavez, 3B3110101 .226
Erubiel Durazo, DH4100012 .161
Scott Hatteberg, 1B4010003 .313
Keith Ginter, 2B4012011 .150
    Marco Scutaro, PR-SS0000000 .261
Charles Thomas, LF2000210 .000
Nick Swisher, RF4221014 .235
Mark Ellis, SS-2B2000000 .316
2B - Mark Kotsay (1, Bush), Jason Kendall (1, Bush)
HR - Nick Swisher (3, Bush)
SH - Mark Ellis (1)
RBI - Jason Kendall 2 (6), Keith Ginter 2 (4), Nick Swisher (7)
2-OUT RBI - Keith Ginter 2 (2)
CS - Charles Thomas (1, 2nd base by Bush/Zaun)
Team LOB - 5
DP - Ginter-Ellis-Hatteberg
Oakland Athletics
Joe Blanton 6311231 2.45
Huston Street (BS,1) 1211010 1.80
Kiko Calero (W,1-0) 1100010 0.00
Octavio Dotel 1111220 3.00
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Blanton 77-51, Huston Street 14-9, Kiko Calero 23-15, Octavio Dotel 25-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Blanton 7-7, Huston Street 1-0, Kiko Calero 2-0, Octavio Dotel 1-0
Batters Faced - Joe Blanton 22, Huston Street 4, Kiko Calero 4, Octavio Dotel 6
Game Information
Attendance - 15860
Game Time - 2:35
Temperature - 57
Umpires - Home - Tim Welke, First Base - Brian O'Nora, Second Base - Gary Cederstrom, Third Base - Bill Welke