A's spoil Richmond's return
Canadian hurler struggles in his return from the DL
With it being non-waiver trade deadline day, the Blue Jays' focus could have centred on who was missing (Scott Rolen) or who was still with the team (Roy Halladay) but it was a return that was the story Friday in Oakland.
Toronto's Scott Richmond, who had been sidelined with tendinitis in his pitching arm for almost a month, came back to start the opener of a three-game set against the Athletics.
The return was far from triumphant for Richmond, as the Athletics (44-58) chased him from the mound in the fourth inning on the way to an 8-5 win over the Blue Jays (49-54).
Richmond (6-6) finished with four runs off seven hits, three walks and two strikeouts from 86 pitches in three-plus innings of work.
Rajai Davis was the first to get aboard for Oakland after drawing a full-count walk from Richmond.
Kurt Suzuki landed on second after a two-base error by Toronto's Alex Rios. The right-fielder's flubbed catch was costly as Ryan Sweeney converted a Richmond offering into a two-RBI single for the early lead.
Oakland's Davis returned to the plate in the second inning and once again got the better of the Blue Jays' pitcher. The speedy centre-fielder smashed a curveball for an RBI-single, stretching the lead to 3-0.
Hill extends hitting streak
One of the few bright spots for the Blue Jays was Aaron Hill, who extended his hitting streak to 10 games when he registered a two-out double in the third inning to score Marco Scutaro and reduce the deficit to 3-1.
Adam Lind pushed Hill to third with a single of his own but A's pitcher Dallas Braden (8-9) forced Kevin Millar to pop out and ended the mini-rally.
4-run fourth chases Richmond
The A's re-established the three-run lead in the bottom of the inning as Jack Cust scored on an Eric Patterson blooper to shallow centre field.
A double by Oakland's Adam Kennedy in the fourth signalled the end of Richmond's night.
Brian Tallet was called upon for some long-relief work to get the Blue Jays out of the jam but quickly gave up an RBI single, walked in a run with the bases loaded and had two more runs cash in to stretch the rout to 8-1.
In the fifth inning, Scutaro made it on base for a third straight time before being replaced on the base path by Joe Inglett. The pinch runner scored thanks to a Lind single and made it 8-2.
Lind launches 2-run bomb
Inglett scored again in the seventh thanks to another RBI-double by Hill. The Blue Jays' second baseman was ushered home thanks to Lind's 22nd home run of the season, reducing the Toronto deficit to three.
Oakland relievers Brad Ziegler and Andrew Bailey quashed any hope of a Toronto comeback, holding batters to just one hit in the final two innings.
The two teams will play the second game of the series on Saturday with Toronto's Brett Cecil (4-1, 4.27 ERA) and the A's Trevor Cahill (6-9, 4.77 ERA) expected to get the start.