OAKLAND, Calif. -- Brian Tallet has started an NCAA championship game, and he's also been traded for a career minor leaguer named Bubbie Buzachero. He was a second-round draft pick with a glistening future, and he also was designated for assignment by two teams.
And at 31, this 6-feet-6 career reliever finally has found a groove as an effective starter for the first-place Blue Jays.
Tallet yielded two hits over seven strong innings, Lyle Overbay homered with three RBI and Toronto avoided its first three-game skid of the season with a 6-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday.
Adam Lind had two run-scoring hits for the Blue Jays, whose powerful offense shook a two-game slump with 15 hits in their ninth victory in their last 11 meetings with the A's.
Before a three-run rally in the ninth, Oakland was shut down by Tallet (2-1), the fill-in starter who followed up six no-hit innings against Cleveland last Monday with another gem.
"I felt even more comfortable than I did the other day [against the Indians]," said Tallet, who started the 2000 NCAA title game for LSU. "Once I got in a rhythm, they had a hard time finding holes. ... I take it as a good game, but it's only one. If you only have one, then you're not really doing your job."
Pressed into the rotation by injuries, Tallet made his first start since 2006 against the A's on April 18. The left-hander got his first win as a starter since 2002 a few days later, and he struck out a career-best seven in Oakland.
Tallet, whose career slowed after reconstructive elbow surgery in 2003, had made six major league starts before this season. Manager Cito Gaston plans to keep him in the rotation as long as he keeps pitching well.
"It doesn't matter what he does, what it is," said Lind, who counts Tallet among his closest friends. "He's the best at anything he does."
Jason Giambi homered twice for Oakland, which managed just one hit off Tallet until the seventh. Newcomer Adam Kennedy had an RBI single in the ninth after Giambi's two-run homer off Scott Downs, but Landon Powell flied out with the bases loaded to end it.
Overbay had a second-inning solo homer, a sacrifice fly and an RBI double for the first-place Blue Jays, who pounded Sean Gallagher (1-1) for 10 hits and four runs in the first five innings.
The A's have lost six of nine and haven't won three straight all season.
"I'm very disappointed in myself right now," said Gallagher, who got his first start of the season after Oakland optioned Dana Eveland to the minors this week. "I had to go out there and fight to keep us in the game. In the later part, as you saw, if I had kept us close, we'd still be in it."
Giambi entered the game batting .202 in his so-far unimpressive return to the A's after seven seasons with the Yankees, but he led off the seventh with a drive to right in his 38th career multihomer game, giving him 399 in his career.
"It means I've played the game a long time, so when it happens, it happens," Giambi said of his move toward 400. "I'm more worried about getting this team going. That's what I'm here for, to help lead this team in the right direction."
After Giambi's ninth-inning shot, Bobby Crosby drew a two-out walk from Downs to load the bases for Kennedy, who was acquired from Tampa Bay one day earlier in a trade. Kennedy's single to right thrilled the small Coliseum crowd, but Powell finished an 0-for-4 day with an easy fly down the right-field line.
A's manager Bob Geren was ejected by plate umpire Paul Nauert in the seventh inning after Matt Holliday argued about a called third strike. Both teams apparently had issues with Nauert's strike zone.
"I didn't really ask for an explantion," Geren said of his fourth career ejection. "I just told him what I thought of the call, but you can't argue balls and strikes, so there wasn't much to it."
Blue Jays closer B.J. Ryan pitched one inning in a rehab appearance for Class-A Dunedin, giving up one run and one hit against Tampa. Ryan was placed on the 15-day disabled list April 23 with muscle tightness in his back and shoulder. ... Kennedy played second base and batted eighth for Oakland. The 10-year major league veteran, who was in the minors before the trade, went 1-for-4 and made a spectacular leaping catch of Alex Rios' line drive in the seventh. ... Oakland RF Jack Cust threw out Travis Snider at the plate in the sixth when Snider attempted to score on Marco Scutaro's fly.