Blue Jays vs. Athletics Game Recap - Apr. 21, 2019

Jamie Branje
BarnBurner Sports Writer


Sunday, April 21, 2019

OAKLAND - Justin Smoak tallied four hits, including a two-run home run, to push the Toronto Blue Jays over the Oakland Athletics 5-4 on Sunday afternoon.


Smoak continued his scorching road trip in which he has raised his batting average from .225 to .318 in just seven games. His home run padded the Jays lead to four in the seventh inning.


There were two hits and a run scored by Freddy Galvis and Brandon Drury to help provide offence for the visiting Blue Jays.


Marcus Semien scored a run and recorded an RBI with two hits for the A's (11-13), as a late rally fell just short.


The Jays (11-12) completed a sweep on the road for the first time since August of 2015 against the Los Angeles Angels.


Toronto tallied its fourth straight win, and completed a road trip through Minnesota and Oakland having won six of seven. 


Today's starter for the visiting team was Aaron Sanchez (2-1), who took a no decision in four innings of work with one run allowed on two hits, three walks and two strikeouts. He only threw 59 pitches. Sanchez appeared to be looking at his hand as he left and was confirmed to have sustained a broken fingernail, which caused him to be removed.


It was a clean outing for Daniel Hudson (1-1) in relief of Sanchez, who earned the win with one and 2/3rds innings pitched having allowed one hit  with three strikeouts. Ken Giles recorded his seventh save of the year despite struggling to make it through the final four outs.


Brett Anderson (3-1) started today's game for the Athletics and was also pulled early with an apparent leg injury. He went only two and 2/3rds innings,  but picked up a loss with two earned runs allowed on four hits, one walk and two strikeouts.  


Opening the top of the seventh inning for the Athletics was J.B. Wendelken, the fourth to appear out of the bullpen after Yusmeiro Petit, Liam Hendriks and Ryan Buchter. Wendelken gave up a hard groundball single to Galvis and, two batters later, allowed Smoak to smash a home run deep to right field to increase the lead to 5-1 for Toronto.  


Stephen Piscotty and Ramon Laureano hit singles in the bottom of the ninth to put two men on with only one out, but Giles struck out Josh Phegley to put the pressure back on Oakland. At this point Charlie Montoyo  Galvis, who appeared to hurt his right leg on a play earlier in the inning, was replaced defensively by the newly called up Richard Urena. 


Leadoff hitter Robbie Grossman came up to the plate and hit a deep pop-up to left field, and Urena ranged back to make the tough catch. Had an injured Galvis still been in the game, the ball likely would have fell.


Ryan Tepera opened the eighth inning for Toronto and had trouble with his command - surrendering two walks and a single to allow a run, and a wild pitch that moved both runners to scoring position with only one out. The wild pitch burned Tepera, when Matt Chapman hit a sacrifice fly to right field to cut the lead to two. 


Closer Giles came in to finish the eighth inning in relief of the shaky Tepera, and promptly allowed Khris Davis to hit an RBI bloop double, which put the tying run in scoring position. Morales squared up a Giles fastball to right field and, if only for a second, appeared to give the A's the lead before McKinney caught the ball on the warning track.  


The top of the sixth inning started with a Brandon Drury single to centre field. Drury advanced to third on a throwing error on a pick-off attempt by Buchter, and he scored on a deep sacrifice fly hit by Rowdy Tellez in the next at-bat.


Joe Biagini replaced Hudson with two out in the sixth inning, and he induced four groundball outs in a clean relief appearance. 


Oakland got on the board in the fourth inning when the first three batters reached on a double, walk and single. Morales hit into a double-play that scored Marcus Semien to close the gap to 2-1. 


Small ball worked well for the Blue Jays to open the scoring in the top of the third. Rowdy Tellez started with a single followed by a Danny Jansen walk, and both were moved forward by a sacrifice bunt hit by Billy McKinney. Alen Hanson singled to score the first run of the game. 


Heads-up defence by former Blue Jay Kendrys Morales cut down a runner at home, as Jansen was thrown out on a fielder's choice ground ball hit by Freddy Galvis.  


The Jays continued to put the pressure one with a double steal, and another run scored when Randal Grichuk hit an infield single to the third baseman. This gave the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead, which they would not relinquish.


Toronto appeared to be threatening at the beginning of the second inning, with a single by Justin Smoak followed by a deep flyball hit by Teoscar Hernandez. They were doubled up on the play as Laureano reached over the wall to steal a home run and threw a strike back to first base. 


The Blue Jays are off tomorrow and return to Toronto for a quick two-game set with the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday. Kevin Pillar will return after having been traded earlier this month. Oakland stays home for a series with the Texas Rangers which begins tomorrow.