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A’s minor league recap: The longball finally arrives

The A’s minor leaguers hadn’t flexed their muscles much over the first week and a half of the season, with their four affiliates hitting just five home runs over a total of 30 games. The power was on Friday night, though.
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A’s 8, Blue Jays 5

Not a bad way for the A’s to start off a six-game road trip, coming back to beat Toronto after falling behind 5-1.

Bobby Crosby delivered the big hit early on with a bases-clearing triple that pulled the A’s to within 5-4 in the fourth inning. He scored on a wild pitch to tie the game. Matt Holliday had an RBI double to right-center for the go-ahead run in the seventh. Mark Ellis’ run-scoring single and a fielder’s choice from Ryan Sweeney in the eighth tacked on a couple of insurance runs.

Clutch work from the bullpen, which delivered five scoreless innings after Josh Outman went just four. Andrew Bailey and Michael Wuertz have both been outstanding. Who would have thought, at the start of the spring, that Bailey would even make this team? But fact is, the A’s can’t expect their bullpen to hold up like this all the time, especially when they’re calling on relievers in the fifth inning.

After 10 games, would you have guessed that youngsters Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill would be the only two A’s starters to have gone at least seven innings? Me neither …

–Something I didn’t mention in my stories on the game: Crosby’s head collided with the knee of Toronto second baseman Aaron Hill when he slid into second in the eighth inning. Crosby stayed in the game and said afterward that he had a headache, but he was OK.

Check back before the game tomorrow morning …

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Outman off to rocky start

We’re in the third inning at Rogers Center and Josh Outman has given up two homers. Former Athletic Marco Scutaro took him deep on his second pitch of the game, and Aaron Hill just hit a two-run shot to left. Both of the homers came on fastballs. After Outman’s last start (in which he lasted just 4 1/3 innings), he told me he thought he relied too much on his fastball in that game. It’ll be interesting to hear what his approach was entering this game.

Toronto leads 3-1 in the bottom of the third …

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Time warp in Toronto

Tune in to tonight’s series opener between the A’s and Blue Jays, and you’ll see the Jays wearing their powder blue throwback unis, as they wore during the 1980s. Is it powder blue? Carolina blue? No idea … I guess we’ll just call it Blue Jay Blue. They wear them for every Friday home game as part of a “Flashback Friday” promotion. …

Josh Outman starts for the A’s against lefty David Purcey, but the talk surrounding the Jays is their impressive offense out of the gate. Bob Geren talked before the game about how Toronto’s offense has done well supporting a young pitching staff, which is what the A’s are trying to do. “They’re always a team that when you come in here, you know they’re going to provide some offense,” Geren said. “They always play us tough.” Former Athletic Marco Scutaro has been terrific in the leadoff spot. He already has 3 HR’s, and he’s never hit more than nine in an entire season.

No Eric Chavez today, and probably not tomorrow or Sunday either. He says Monday is the day he’s likely to return, and he sounded pretty certain about it, for what it’s worth. He’ll take BP tomorrow, and if all goes well, he’ll throw and take grounders Sunday. In Oakland, he had mentioned possibly playing Saturday or Sunday, but the training staff is holding him back from throwing an extra day, thus Monday is the target.

Nomar Garciaparra is DHing tonight, so Bobby Crosby starts at third. The turf here in Toronto can be tough for anybody dealing w/leg issues (Garciaparra’s calf is giving him trouble), and Geren wants Garciaparra to start at third in tomorrow’s day game, so he’s saving him as much as possible.

No fresh news on reliever Joey Devine. He underwent those additional tests on his elbow, and he’s going back to visit Dr. James Andrews on Monday. The A’s should know more by Tuesday.

The lineups:

A’s — Sweeney CF; Cabrera SS; Giambi 1B; Holliday LF; Garciaparra DH; Cust RF; Suzuki C; Ellis 2B; Crosby 3B; Outman P

Jays — Scutaro SS; Hill 2B; Rios RF; Wells CF; Lind DH; Rolen 3B; Millar 1B; Barrett C; Bautista LF; Purcey P

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A’s minor league recap: Stockton falls to 0-8

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm for the A’s affiliates Thursday:

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

Cliff Pennington’s hustle allowed the RiverCats to escape with a 7-6 10-inning win over Portland (Padres). The shortstop beat out a potential inning-ending double play grounder that allowed the winning run to score. Pennington’s scrappiness also showed earlier in the game as he drew three walks and scored twice. He has a .414 on-base percentage through eight games.
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No hitter over

Leave it to Kurt Suzuki to break up Tim Wakefield’s no-hit bid. Suzuki singled to left with one out in the bottom of the eighth.

Earlier in the inning, Mark Ellis drew a walk and Travis Buck flew out to deep left center field.  The Red Sox now lead 8-1 thanks to six runs in the top of the eighth.

Suzuki has now hit safely in all 15 of his career games against the Red Sox. Before Wednesday, he was 18-for-50.

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Wakefield no hitter through seven

The no-hitter rolls on, as Tim Wakefield got Orlando Cabrera to fly out to right, got a nice catch from shortstop Nick Green on a short looper to shallow centerfield from Jack Cust and got Matt Holliday to ground out to third. Wakefield has thrown 67 pitches, 50 for strikes, and has three strikeouts.

I forgot to mention earlier that Wakefield was perfect through five before a seemingly routine Kurt Suzuki groundball to third bounced off the glove of Mike Lowell.  

Still 2-0 Sox in the top of the eighth. Brett Anderson is out of the game, replaced by Jerry Blevins.