TORONTO (AP) — The Oakland Athletics have relied on solid pitching through the first two weeks of the season. Now, they’re starting to swing the bats a little better, too.
Chris Coghlan hit a three-run home run, Stephen Vogt had three hits and the Athletics won their sixth straight, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 8-5 Friday night.
“When you’re clicking on all cylinders, good things happen,” Vogt said.
The Athletics snapped a six-game skid at Rogers Centre and set season-highs in runs and hits (14).
“We’re getting contributions throughout,” manager Bob Melvin said. “That’s what we envisioned to be the strength of our offense, the length of it.”
Sonny Gray (3-1) allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings as Oakland improved to 7-0 on the road, their best start since opening 8-0 away from home in 1990.
“It was no secret that (the offense) struggled the first seven to 10 games,” Gray said. “We were fighting and trying to stay afloat. Now we’re kind of turning around and starting to hit the ball really well.”
Darwin Barney’s RBI single off Gray in the seventh marked the first time in six games that Oakland had allowed three earned runs.
Kevin Pillar’s two-run single off Sean Doolittle pulled Toronto to 6-5 in the eighth. Khris Davis replied with an RBI single in the ninth and a second run scored as the ball skipped past left fielder Ezequiel Carrera for an error and rolled to the wall.
“The hit that Davis got was huge for us,” Melvin said
Ryan Madson finished for his AL-leading seventh save.
Aaron Sanchez (1-1) allowed a career-worst six runs in 4 1/3 innings as the Blue Jays lost their third straight.
“It was a tough night for him,” manager John Gibbons said. “They came out swinging, they’re a good fastball-hitting team.”
Vogt hit an RBI double in the first, singled in the third, then singled and scored in the fifth. He has 11 hits in his past 26 at bats.
Gray struck out five of the first six batters he faced and retired the first eight in a row before Barney’s solo home run in the bottom of the third.
Sanchez came in having allowed just three earned runs in his previous three starts this season but allowed that many on a single swing against the surging Athletics. Sanchez, who gave up 10 hits, saw his ERA rise from 1.35 to 3.33.
Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin left after five innings with neck spasms. Josh Thole came on defensively in the sixth.
“As I kept playing, it just kept getting tighter and tighter,” said Martin, adding that he expects to play Saturday.
Toronto loaded the bases twice against Gray in the sixth but managed just a sacrifice fly by Bautista. Thole grounded out on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning, stranding three runners.
“That sixth inning was the game,” Vogt said. “Bases loaded, nobody out and he gets out of it with one run. That was a pivotal point in the game and he did a great job for us.”
Pillar’s two-run single off Doolittle marked the first time this season that an Oakland reliever had allowed an inherited runner to score. Athletics relievers had stranded a major league-best 28 inherited runners to begin the season.
KEEPING IT CLEAN
For the first time in six games, the Athletics did not make an error.
Oakland has scored five or more runs in three straight games for the first time since Aug. 23-25, 2015.
Blue Jays 1B Chris Colabello was suspended for 80 games without pay after testing positive for an anabolic steroid. Toronto selected LHP Chad Girodo from Triple-A Buffalo to take Colabello’s roster spot.
Athletics: Oakland placed 3B Danny Valencia (left hamstring) on the 15-day DL and recalled INF Tyler Ladendorf from Triple-A Nashville.
Blue Jays: SS Troy Tulowitzki (hip) and OF Michael Saunders (hamstring) got the day off. ... RHP Jesse Chavez (back) returned after missing the previous three games.
Athletics: RHP Chris Bassitt (0-0, 2.79) has received two runs of support or fewer in his three previous starts.
Blue Jays: LHP J.A. Happ (2-0, 1.89) seeks to win his third straight start. He has allowed two earned runs over his past 13 innings.