TORONTO (AP) — Cristian Pache hit a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning, Sean Murphy also connected and the Oakland Athletics beat Toronto 7-5 on Saturday, snapping a six-game losing streak against the Blue Jays.
Facing Julian Merryweather (0-2), the right-handed Pache hammered a 1-0 pitch into the right field bullpen for his first home run of the season and second of his career.
“It was incredible,” Pache said through a translator. “I’m very grateful, and I’m really happy to see that I have that strength to be able to hit a ball like that. My confidence just continues to grow.”
Pache was acquired from Atlanta last month in the deal that sent slugger Matt Olson to the Braves.
“He’s been impressive ever since he’s been here with him in the outfield, his arm, the at bats he puts together,” Athletics starter Paul Blackburn said. “He’s fun to watch.”
A’s manager Mark Kotsay said he’s been impressed with Pache’s fast-growing maturity, especially at the plate.
“I love talking about Pach,” Kotsay said. “He’s got all the tools.”
Oakland right-hander Dany Jiménez (1-0) worked one inning for the win and Lou Trivino pitched around a leadoff walk in the ninth to earn his second save in three opportunities.
Toronto’s Matt Chapman and Zack Collins homered on consecutive pitches from Athletics right-hander Domingo Acevedo in the sixth as the Blue Jays erased a 5-2 deficit. Chapman’s two-run homer was his second of the season, while Collins connected for the first time.
“Two balls over the middle of the plate and you can’t get away with that with these guys,” Kotsay said. “They can do damage in a hurry.”
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu had a sore forearm after allowing five runs and six hits, including four extra-base hits, in four innings.
“Of course we’re concerned,” Montoyo said. “We’re going to see how he feels.”
Ryu could be sent for further tests if he still feels sore Sunday, Montoyo said.
Oakland used four straight hits off Ryu to take a 3-1 lead in the second, with Sheldon Neuse, Kevin Smith, and Christian Bethancourt all driving in runs.
Murphy, who doubled and scored in the second, made it 5-1 with a two-run homer into the center field party deck in the third, his second. Murphy’s blast was measured at 452 feet, making it the fourth longest of his career.
Collins cut it to 5-2 with an RBI single off Blackburn in the fourth before the Blue Jays tied it with a three-run rally off Acevedo.
Blackburn allowed two runs and five hits in five innings.
“Paul did great,” Kotsay said. “He managed to get through that lineup a couple of times.”
Athletics: RHP James Kaprielian (shoulder) allowed two runs and three hits, including two solo home runs, in five innings to get the win for Class-A Stockton Friday. Kaprielian struck out six and walked none.
Blue Jays: LHP Ryan Borucki (right hamstring) is expected to rejoin the team to continue his rehab. Borucki had been at Toronto’s facility in Florida.
Before the game, Kotsay and first base coach Eric Martins presented Matt Chapman with his 2021 Gold Glove award. Martins coached Oakland’s infielders last season
Montoyo was ejected for arguing ball and strike calls with home plate umpire Jeff Nelson in the eighth after Gurriel was called out on an outside pitch to begin the inning.
“I felt like I have to protect my players,” Montoyo said.
Chapman said Nelson’s erratic zone was “definitely frustrating.”
BEEN A WHILE
Oakland won north of the border for the first time since May 20, 2018.
Athletics RHP Adam Oller (0-0, 33.75) faces Blue Jays RHP Alek Manoah (1-0, 0.00) in Sunday’s series finale. Oller is making his second career start. Manoah faced Oakland last September 3, allowing a season-worst six earned runs in five innings.
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