Blue Jays lose another starter, win another game against A's

Justin Smoak got thrown out on a wild sequence that began with another sensational play by Oakland centre fielder Ramon Laureano, but wound up with four hits as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Athletics 5-4 Sunday for a three-game sweep.

Sanchez leaves with broken fingernail; Shoemaker out for year with torn ACL

Toronto pitcher Aaron Sanchez exited with a broken fingernail after pitching four innings during the Blue Jays' 5-3 win against the Oakland Athletics on Sunday. (Jeff Chiu/The Associated Press)

The Oakland Athletics caught Justin Smoak early, ending a wild sequence that began with another eye-popping play by centre fielder Ramon Laureano.

But the A's couldn't totally stop Smoak and the Toronto Blue Jays, who finished off a three-game sweep with a 5-4 victory Sunday.

"Over this road trip we finally started swinging the bats," Smoak said after getting four hits, including a home run. "Hopefully we can continue to do that. If we do we'll be in a better position to win some ballgames."

On a day when both starting pitchers needed to leave early with ailments, Laureano showed off the most impressive toss.

Smoak led off the second inning with a single and Teoscar Hernandez followed with a long drive to centre. Laureano made his way back to the wall and reached high to make the catch.

The strong-armed Laureano, who has already nailed several runners this season, quickly recovered and aimed to get the retreating Smoak, unleashing a throw from the edge of the warning track.

The peg sailed far over the head of first baseman Kendrys Morales and carried into the expansive foul territory at the Coliseum, one-hopping to near the dugout.

Smoak tried to advance on the overthrow and was caught at second base by catcher Nick Hundley, who backed up the play.

"I was really pumped up when I made that throw," Laureano said. "I threw without thinking. That happens sometimes."

Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez was pulled after four innings because of a broken fingernail, a problem that has plagued him in the past.

A's starter Brett Anderson (3-1) sprained his left ankle coming off the mound trying to field Randal Grichuk's single in the third.

Oakland was swept at home by Toronto for the first time since 1993 after winning all seven games against the Blue Jays last season.

Toronto posted its first road sweep of at least three games since 2015 and capped a 6-1 trip. The Blue Jays went 1-5 on their first road trip earlier this season.

"It's great how we're playing the game," manager Charlie Montoyo said. "Our pitching's been there the whole time but now that we're swinging the bats we're a lot better club. We're playing great baseball."

Daniel Hudson (1-1) retired five batters. Ken Giles got four outs for his seventh save.

Freddy Galvis added two hits and Alen Hanson singled, scored and had an RBI in his first game in the leadoff spot for Toronto.

Shoemaker out for year

Matt Shoemaker had to choke back tears after tests revealed a torn ACL in his left knee Sunday, cutting short yet another promising season for Toronto's oft-injured right-hander.

Standing in the clubhouse following a 5-4 win over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, Shoemaker's voice quavered and he paused a few times while discussing the injury. At one point he was asked if he needed time to compose himself but declined.

"You can't put words to it," Shoemaker said. "Extremely frustrated but at the same time I just have to stay positive. I know I'm really upset right now, I just got the news. But stay positive, keep fighting, get this thing right and be back when it's ready to go."

Shoemaker was hurt at the end of a rundown Saturday, and Toronto announced the diagnosis and placed him on the 10-day injured list a day later. He will undergo surgery but no date has been set.

The 32-year-old is 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA in five starts after signing a $3.5 million, one-year deal with Toronto in December. He was limited to seven starts last year with the Angels because of a strained right forearm. In 2016, he sustained a skull fracture when he was hit in the head by a line drive, and he's had lingering forearm trouble for a while.

"He was one of the best pitchers in baseball for the first month," manager Charlie Montoyo said. "I feel bad for him. I feel bad for all of us, worse for him because he was doing so great."

Shoemaker's latest injury occurred while he was chasing Oakland's Matt Chapman in the third inning. Shoemaker applied the tag and spun around to avoid contact. The injury happened as he twirled.

Shoemaker hopped around before falling to the ground as a team trainer rushed out. He was down for several moments and sat with his head in his hands before being helped to his feet and off the field.

"I was really hoping for a knee sprain," Shoemaker said. "I knew what I felt. It didn't feel right, but I was just hoping for a knee sprain."

'Big loss'

Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak called it a big loss for a team that just completed a 6-1 road trip.

"He's been awesome and he's pitched well so far," Smoak said. "It's a freaky thing. It's tough for him, tough for us."

Before Sunday's game, Shoemaker walked slowly through the clubhouse with the aid of a single crutch. He didn't need it when talking to reporters but had a noticeable limp.

Although it's admittedly difficult, Shoemaker said the key to his recovery will be keeping an optimistic outlook.

"The biggest thing is that it's frustrating," Shoemaker said. "I can deal with this stuff. I know I seem pretty upset right now, which I am. But I've had bumps in the road before and I'm just going to fight through it. That's just who I am. It's just really upsetting right now."

Infielder Richard Urena was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo.


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