Aug 13, 2015 4:49 PM
Gray misses start with sore back, A's lose 4-2 to Jays
The Associated Press
TORONTO (AP) Sonny Gray's sore back forced the Oakland A's to juggle their rotation, and cost them a chance to send their staff ace against the hottest team in baseball.
The Toronto Blue Jays won their 11th straight game Thursday, beating Oakland 4-2 behind Mark Buehrle's arm and Ryan Goins' bat.
Jesse Chavez moved up a day to start in place of AL ERA leader Gray, who was scratched because of back spasms. Gray first felt sore Wednesday night.
"It was tough not to see Sonny in there," Oakland catcher Josh Phegley said of his All-Star teammate. "We've counted on him all year."
Chavez (6-12) allowed four runs and six hits in six innings.
Toronto broke loose in the second when Dioner Navarro, Justin Smoak and Kevin Pillar singled and Goins homered into the right field bullpen.
"He was trying to go up and in to Goins and left it out over the plate where he could get the barrel on it," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "Other than that, he pitched great."
Chavez struck out nine, two shy of his career-high, and responded to the homer by setting down 10 straight.
"This was probably the best I've felt in six or seven starts," he said. "I was commanding both sides of the plate with all the pitches, unfortunately the one cost us."
Toronto, the AL East leaders, also won 11 in a row in June. They're the first team to post a pair of winning streaks of at least 11 since Cleveland in 1954.
"Unbelievable," Goins said of the hot streak. "Just coming to the park knowing that you're going to win a game that day, it's a good feeling."
The Blue Jays finished off a three-game sweep and host the second-place Yankees in a three-game set beginning Friday. David Price starts the opener for Toronto.
Buehrle (13-5) won his fourth straight decision and improved to 8-1 in 14 starts since May 29. He allowed two runs and seven hits in seven-plus innings.
"He's a magician out there and always has been," Goins said.
Blue Jays starters have permitted three earned runs or fewer in 17 straight games, one shy of the club record.
"The pitching has kind of found its groove right now," Buehrle said.
Roberto Osuna worked the ninth for his 12th save.
The Athletics loaded the bases with nobody out in the first but Danny Valencia bounced into a 1-2-3 double play and Phegley grounded out.
"That can be a little disheartening," Melvin said.
Oakland chased Buehrle in the eighth. Marcus Semien hit a leadoff single and Billy Burns tripled past a diving Pillar in center.
Reliever Aaron Sanchez came on and gave up an RBI grounder to Mark Canha, but escaped further damage.
BREAK OUT THE BROOMS
Oakland was swept for the eighth time this season.
CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR
The A's are 21-40 in games decided by two runs or fewer.
Blue Jays: 1B Edwin Encarnacion (left middle finger) sat out his fourth straight game. ... SS Troy Tulowitzki got the day off.
Athletics: Melvin said Gray will not be able to start against Baltimore on Friday, meaning Oakland will have to promote a starter from Triple-A Nashville. LHP Brad Mills, Friday's scheduled starter for Nashville, is considered the leading candidate. He's 3-0 with a 1.56 ERA in three career starts against Baltimore. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (9-7, 3.79 ERA) starts for the Orioles Friday.
Blue Jays: LHP Price (11-4, 2.35 ERA) looks to improve to 3-0 with Toronto as the Blue Jays begin a three-game series with the New York Yankees. Price is 2-0 with an 0.60 ERA in two starts since joining Toronto. RHP Ivan Nova (4-4, 3.52 ERA) starts for the Yankees.