TORONTO (AP) — Chad Pinder became the latest member of the Oakland A’s to come up clutch.
Pinder hit his first career grand slam and the Athletics overcame a four-run deficit, rallying to score five times in the eighth inning to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4.
“This group in particular has a knack for not giving up in the late innings,” Pinder said. “It’s a testament to what our guys are doing here as a whole. It’s fun to be a part of.”
Oakland is a major league-best 8-2 in one-run games.
“Our best at-bats come late in games,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ve done really well in one-run games because these guys put together really good at-bats late.”
The Athletics have homered in all nine games of their current road trip, hitting 18 total home runs. They’re 6-3 on the three-city swing with one game remaining.
“This team is starting to put things together and it’s really, really fun to watch,” Oakland left-hander Sean Manaea said.
The Blue Jays did all their scoring in the fifth. Gio Urshela hit a two-run homer, Yangervis Solarte hit an RBI double and Kevin Pillar added a sacrifice fly.
It stayed that way until the eighth, when Stephen Piscotty hit a one-out RBI single off reliever John Axford.
Tyler Clippard (4-1) came on and retired Dustin Fowler, then walked pinch-hitter Jed Lowrie to load the bases for Pinder, who connected on a 1-1 pitch.
“They’d been beating me up with the fastball so I was just looking for something up to be able to drive,” Pinder said. “That’s what I did.”
Emilio Pagan (1-0) worked two innings for the win. Lou Trivinio pitched the eighth and Blake Treinen finished for his 10th save in 12 opportunities as Oakland won for the fifth time in six games.
Toronto has lost 11 of 14 at home, including the past five straight.
The bullpen meltdown spoiled a solid effort by Sam Gaviglio, who pitched 5 1-3 shutout innings in his first start for Toronto. Pitching in place of Marcus Stroman, who’s out with shoulder trouble, Gaviglio gave up six hits and walked one, matching his career-best with six strikeouts.
“He did an excellent job,” manager John Gibbons said. “He showed us a lot.”
Manaea allowed four runs and five hits in five innings. He has given up four runs each of his past four starts.
Oakland began the day as the major league leader in ninth-inning runs (23) and ninth-inning batting average (.274).
WILTING IN MAY
Toronto has endured a trio of three-game losing streaks this month and is 6-12 overall in May after going 15-10 in April.
The start of the game was delayed briefly by a problem with the replay review system. In the end, there were no challenges.
Athletics: LHP Brett Anderson (shoulder) was put on the 10-day disabled list and RHP Ryan Dull was recalled from Triple-A Nashville. Anderson left Friday’s start after one inning, becoming the second straight Oakland starter to last fewer than three innings.
Blue Jays: OF Teoscar Hernandez returned after missing the previous two games because of a sore back. … OF Randal Grichuk (right knee) is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment next week. Grichuk was injured making a diving catch on April 29. … SS Troy Tulowitzki (heel spurs, both feet) has resumed fielding drills and has a follow-up appointment next week with the doctor who performed his April 2 surgery. Tulowitzki has not played since last July.
Athletics: RHP Daniel Mengden (3-4, 3.75) is 3-2 with a 2.97 ERA in his past seven starts.
Blue Jays: RHP Joe Biagini (0-2, 7.98) is 2-14 with a 6.05 ERA in 21 career starts.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball