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Game #87: Scott Kazmir dominates; A's beat Blue Jays 5-1

Jason O. Watson

The Oakland Athletics defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 5-1 this Saturday in a brisk two hours, 37 minutes behind an outstanding pitching performance from Scott Kazmir ahead of tomorrow's All-Star team selection, a Josh Donaldson home run, and a hit parade up-and-down the lineup. Kazmir improves his record to 10-3, and his one run allowed in seven innings improves his ERA from 2.61 to 2.53.

Edwin Encarnacion injured on RBI fielder's choice

The sole run Kazmir allowed was on an Edwin Encarnacion fielder's choice. With runners on the corners and one out, Encarnacion grounded slowly to Jed Lowrie who went to Alberto Callaspo at second base for out number two but could not get Encarnacion. On the play, however, Encarnacion fell to the ground after hitting the bag, and we learned later that he left the game with right quad soreness. The extent of his injury is not currently known.

Second inning signs of life

With one out in the bottom of the second, Nate Freiman drove a high fly ball deep to center that came just short of a home run, ultimately caught by center fielder Colby Rasmus. After that, however, the Athletics matched their hit total of four for the first 11 innings of Friday's game by adding three singles to their initial lone hit in the first inning.  With two out, Jed Lowrie singled on a bloop over second baseman Munenori Kawasaki, Alberto Callaspo singled up the middle, and Stephen Vogt beat out a single when Mark Buehrle was slow to cover first base when Adam Lind (in for in the injured Encarnacion) ranged too far to his right. No runs scored, however, as Coco Crisp flew out on another deep fly ball to left fielder Melky Cabrera.

In honor of our new acquisition from Chicago, you can put it on the boa ... Oh the other league's Chicago

Mark Buehrle seemed to have things back under control after his interesting second inning. In the third, Craig Gentry struck out on three pitches without the bat leaving his shoulder, and Yoenis Cespedes flew a 1-0 pitch to right field.

And then Josh Donaldson tied the game on a solo home run.

Your hit parade

The Athletics continued to pile the hits onto Mark Buehrle, never letting him escape. In the fourth, Buehrle again got to two outs before allowing an Albert Callaspo double, a Stephen Vogt walk, an RBI single from Coco Crisp, and an RBI single from Craig Gentry to give the A's a 3-1 lead after four innings. The fourth killed any chance of a deep outing for Buehrle: 34 pitches put him at 83 total at that point.

The A's picked up single in each of the fifth and sixth innings against Buehrle, and he left after the sixth, only just continuing a Blue Jays streak of six-plus inning starts that started June 22. He left after 110 pitches.

Scott KKKKKKKKazmir dismantles the Jays

After the two singles to open the game, Scott Kazmir did not concede a hit until Brad Glenn singled to lead off the top of the fifth inning with his first career Major League hit, an infield single that pushed Alberto Callaspo far onto the grass in right field. Callaspo tossed the ball to Freiman, who in turn rolled it into the Jays dugout to save the ball for Glenn. Best of luck to Brad Glenn.

Otherwise for the Jays through seven, it was just two walks: one each in the second and seventh innings, and he struck out eight in the process. One of those strikeouts was a nifty catch of a foul tip strike three that initially bounced up a little off Norris' glove before he snowconed it just short of the dirt:

The play got a special mark on my scorecard:

Josh Donaldson wins another meeting with the tarp

Deja vu all over again:

The A's still remember how to get an out at the plate on a relay

With Yoenis Cespedes patrolling left field, I feel like the A's haven't had to make a relay to home plate all season. Cespedes was the designated hitter tonight, however, and Craig Gentry was in left. In the eighth, with Melky Cabrera at first base and two out, Jose Bautista lined a 1-0 fastball from Luke Gregerson down the third base line just past a diving Josh Donaldson. From deep in the corner, Gentry fired the ball to Jed Lowrie as Cabrera lumbered around third base. Lowire in turn fired home to Derek Norris. Home plate umpire Bill Miller, in good position to see the play, called Cabrera out, and to the naked eye it appeared Norris tagged Cabera's helmet just as Norris received the ball in his mitt.

Cabrera, however, vehemently signaled safe and urged Toronto Blue Jays manager to come out and challenge the call. Gibbons popped out of the dugout to do so, and after review, the call was upheld. Judge for yourself:

Two more runs can save your Sean Doolittle from being used too often (but not up to 15% on your car insurance)

Sean Doolittle had been used for each of the last two days, and the A's were looking for a few more runs in the eighth inning to give the A's some space for a more rested pitcher. Against Sergio Santos, Nate Freiman singled to left and Jed Lowrie scored Freiman on a double to the right field wall. The Jays could not perform the mirror relay successfully, as the ball ended up the third base line to make it 4-1 A's.

With Brett Cecil entering in relief, Alberto Callaspo advanced Lowrie to third on a ground to second, opening up a sacrifice opportunity. They could not take advantage once Stephen Vogt grounded sharply to first base, but the A's did not need it. With Coco Crisp batting, Dioner Navarro muffed a high curve ball and Lowrie scored on the passed ball, making it 5-1 A's. Crisp grounded out to second to end the inning.

No Abad puns tonight

Fernando Abad finished off the Jays without a fight. Adam Lind popped out to Donaldson in foul territory, Dioner Navarro flew out to Craig Gentry in left, and Colby Rasmus watched strike three catch the upper part of the zone down the middle to end the game: A's 5, Blue Jays 1.

The Samardzija will come out, tomorrow, bet your bottom Brad Mills that tomorrow, there will be Samardzija!

Tomorrow, Jeff Samardzija (2-7, 2.83, 103 K) makes his American League debut, facing Toronto's Drew Hutchison (6-6, 3.81, 89 K). We'll have details tomorrow on the next roster move as the other half of the trade with the Chicago Cubs, Jason Hammel, joins the active roster at that time. The A's hope to sweep the home series as well as win the rubber match in the season series. First pitch will be at 1:05 pm.