OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Ramon Laureano homered for the third consecutive day and the Oakland Athletics beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 on Monday night, spoiling Marcus Semien’s return to the Coliseum.
Stephen Piscotty also went deep for Oakland. Jed Lowrie doubled twice and had three hits.READ MORE: Survivors Of Two Pandemics Credit Pets With Helping Them Survive
Frankie Montas pitched six uneven innings to win the first meeting between the teams in more than two years.
“Nothing but good things about Ramon,” Montas said. “He’s been the guy right now. He’s been the guy that’s putting us back in the game. He did it yesterday and he did it today. That’s huge for us.”
Semien went 1 for 3 with a walk in his first game back in Oakland after signing with Toronto in the offseason. The Bay Area native, who played for the A’s from 2015-20, was greeted with an extended standing ovation before his first plate appearance.
Laureano connected on a 1-0 pitch from starter Steven Matz (4-2) to break a 3-all tie in the fifth. Tony Kemp walked and scored on the home run. Laureano also homered Saturday against the Orioles, then did it again Sunday with a two-run drive in the eighth moments after making a leaping catch at the fence to prevent the go-ahead run.
“I’d be playing with a lot of confidence, too, with all he’s got going on here lately,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s doing well. He’s got tremendous power.”
The A’s center fielder had previously homered in three straight games in 2019, but never on consecutive days.
“It’s not that big of a surprise to us just knowing what kind of player he is,” Piscotty said. “He constantly goes out and delivers game-winning performances. He’s a cannon ball. He’s been carrying us no doubt these last few games.”
Piscotty homered in the second after Lowrie’s RBI double.
Montas (3-2) allowed seven hits and three runs for his first win since April 16. The right-hander struck out four and walked one.
Sergio Romo and Lou Trivino retired three batters apiece. Jake Diekman worked the ninth for his third save.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had three hits for Toronto.READ MORE: California's Capitol Lit-Up Pink for Second Night, Women Talk End of Roe v. Wade
The game was the first between the A’s and Blue Jays since April 28, 2019 – a span of 736 days. They did not play in 2020 due to the pandemic-shortened season.
Matz gave up five runs and seven hits in five innings. He has lost consecutive starts after beginning the season 4-0.
“He probably hasn’t been as sharp as he was in the beginning,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. “He’s leaving some pitches up in the zone. The last two outings haven’t been that great, but he’ll get it back. The stuff is there.”
FAMILIAR BUT DIFFERENT
Semien retraced his old driving route to the ballpark from home in Alameda, then entered from the other side of the Coliseum for a change and needed an assist finding his way to the visiting clubhouse. He departed in free agency to join Toronto on an $18 million, one-year contract, while Oakland’s brass faced scrutiny for not doing more to try to keep him.
“It’s different. I had to ask, ‘Where do I go?’ because I haven’t been on this side since 2014,” Semien said.
Semien was looking forward to some quick reunions and saying his hellos to all the familiar faces before taking the field he knows so well. He handled at least 21 ticket requests.
“I’m a Bay Area native and I get to play pro baseball right where I grew up tonight,” Semien said. “I still get to come back here — it’s a perk of being in the AL. You still get to come back home and play in front of family in Oakland every year.”
Blue Jays: LHP Hyun Jin-Ryu (hip) is expected to come off the injured list and start Thursday. … OF George Springer was given a planned day off after coming out of Sunday’s game in the sixth inning due to leg fatigue.
Athletics: LHP A.J. Puk (strained biceps) is scheduled to throw 30 pitches over two simulated innings in the bullpen Tuesday. … OF/INF Chad Pinder (sprained left knee) is likely to begin a rehab assignment next Monday.
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Athletics LHP Cole Irvin (2-3, 3.67 ERA) makes his first career start against the Blue Jays on Tuesday. Irvin has 20 strikeouts over his past 17 1/3 innings. LHP Anthony Kay (0-1, 10.80) pitches for Toronto in his first start against an AL West opponent.