For once, this was a battle of the bullpens that the A's did not win. After R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon both racked up pretty significant pitch counts over each other's 6 innings, each team would trot out its relief corps to attempt to bring this one to the house. It wouldn't be the A's day, though, as after Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle, and Grant Balfour pitched a perfect 7-8-9, Jesse Chavez and Jerry Blevins would combine to let the Blue Jays blow the game open in the 10th inning. Those three runs proved to be the difference.
On the starting side, Bartolo Colon clearly did not have his best stuff today. He uncharacteristically walked 3 batters, and seemed to be living in the mid-to-high 80s with his fastball all afternoon. Amazingly, however, he powered through 6 innings and continued his team record streak of going at least six innings and allowing 2 or fewer runs. He got through innings 1 and 2 with a single and double allowed, respectively, recording his only K to end the second. In the third, however, he would wriggle out of a second-and-third and one-out jam, almost literally. After a Brett Lawrie walk and Jose Reyes bunt single, Maicer Izturis sacrificed himself to move the runners over, and left the actual hitting to Jose Bautista. He would lineout sharply to Jed Lowrie for the second out. In stepped Edwin Encarnacion for the Jays, who laced a sure hit up the middle were it not for Colon's body. His deflection to Lowrie ended the inning and kept the game scoreless.
Again, were it not for some Yakety Sax Blue Jays moments today, the A's would have been shutout again. One of those happened in the third, when Eric Sogard would reach on a single. He would score on a massively airmailed throw by Bautista on a single by Lowrie, also sending Lowrie to third. Another moment came in the fifth, when Dickey simply let a ball drop, again putting Sogard on. I don't know how this works exactly - elf magic, something - but apparently Sogard's mere presence on the field makes defenders drop the ball. Perhaps it's his steely good looks. In either case, those distractions would bring him around to score again, as with Brandon Moss batting with two outs, Maicer Izturis dropped a routine pop up to tie the score at 2-all.
After that, the game ceased being amusing. The A's offense would be quieted by Dickey, Aaron Loup, and Steve Delabar. Their only real threat came in the eighth, when with one out, Josh Donaldson and Seth Smith would reach on Loup. Enter Delabar, the All-Star, who came on to strike out Chris Young and Stephen Vogt. Grant Balfour would come in to strike out the side in the 9th, and then left, leaving the horrible realization that the only guys left in the bullpen were the B team relievers. No matter, of course, as the A's would pie their way to victory in the bottom of the 9th.
Except they didn't. Casey Janssen came on for a 1-2-3 ninth inning to send this game to free baseball territory. And when it did, and Jesse Chavez came in, it was a quick end. A single and another passed ball by Vogt led to a run-scoring double by Bautista. After an IBB to Encarnacion, Jerry Blevins came in to give up a walk to Mark DeRosa and a bases-loaded single to Colby Rasmus to push the advantage to 5-2 Jays. The meringue pie that was this game's comeback hopes would collapse with the B team bullpen. Only Pat Neshek's quiet two outs would keep this game from being an embarrassment.
Despite the solar power today, the A's couldn't muster enough offense or pitching to top the Jays. Nevertheless, the team will surely enjoy an off-day tomorrow before starting a pivotal series against Texas at home. In the meantime... Go Angels?!?