Blue Jays put up 10-spot to cool off A's

Blue Jays put up 10-spot to cool off A's

Blue Jays put up 10-spot to cool off A's
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays didn't have to wait very long to put the worst shutout loss in franchise history in their rearview mirror.

Following a 16-0 blanking on Wednesday night, Toronto got back on track the following afternoon with a much-needed victory to avoid a three-game series sweep by Oakland on Thursday.

Edwin Encarnacion and Kelly Johnson led the way with a pair of homers, while Travis Snider drove in a two runs to lead the Blue Jays to a 10-4 win in front of 39,003 fans at Rogers Centre.

"We got back on the field in less than 12 hours from when we left here last night," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "You can quickly turn the page on a tough day, that's the beauty of this game.

"But the fact is, we put together a quality game offensively to get back to .500, and I know it is somewhat of a cliche to get back to that level, but it falls in line with some resiliency that we have seen from this club series over series, game over game."

The turnaround on the field wasn't immediate. The Blue Jays quickly fell behind 3-0 in the series finale and were held without a hit through three innings of play.

That changed in the fourth when two of the first three hitters reached base and Encarnacion later followed with a three-run shot over the wall in left-center field. The line-drive homer brought renewed life into the Blue Jays dugout and seemed to spark the club into a productive day at the plate.

Encarnacion's 27th long ball of the year set a career high and also tied the score at 3. His breakthrough season continued, despite the absence of Jose Bautista, who is currently on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left wrist. Encarnacion is now hitting .342 (39-for-114) with 10 home runs and 26 RBIs in his past 34 games.

"You could feel it in the dugout, just lifting the morale of the team," said Blue Jays starter Aaron Laffey, who earned a no-decision. "It woke everybody up. Everybody got some energy after that. That was a key part of the game right there, that home run, it pushes back the lead, ties the game."

The Blue Jays jumped in front two innings later when Colby Rasmus and Brett Lawrie began the frame with back-to-back singles. Two batters later, Snider perfectly executed a safety squeeze with a bunt down the third-base line. Rasmus easily scored from third, while Lawrie followed suit when left-hander Tommy Milone's throw to first base hit Snider on his way to the bag.

Snider doesn't exactly have a long track record of being able to lay down a bunt. He came up through the Blue Jays' Minor League system as a middle-of-the-order bat and is known more for his ability to drive in runs than he is for playing small ball.

That didn't matter on this day, though, as Snider got the ball on the ground and set the stage for what turned into the game-winning run.

"I tried once in [Triple-A] Las Vegas off of a left-hander and Anthony Gose will tell you it was pretty ugly," Snider said of his bunting experience. "I think I missed it by about six feet and I was two steps out of the box before the ball even crossed the plate. But, in that situation, you have to be ready for whatever and be able to get the bunt down and help the team win."

Johnson then provided another run in the seventh with a solo shot to right field. It was Johnson's 11th home run of the season, but just his second since May 28.

Toronto added four insurance runs in the eighth, as Snider added an RBI double, Yan Gomes delivered a sacrifice fly, Johnson doubled in a run and Jeff Mathis doubled in another.

"I felt strong out there the first few innings, and then once they started stringing some stuff together, making me throw out of the stretch, I felt a little bit uncomfortable," said Milone, who surrendered six runs on eight hits and had seven strikeouts.

"But I think, overall, the numbers aren't where I want them to be, but I felt good. For the most part, I was throwing the ball where I wanted to. Just a couple of pitches got away, and they capitalized on them."

Laffey came into Thursday's game riding the high of seven scoreless innings of work during his last start against Boston. Things didn't go as smoothly against the A's, though, as outfielder Josh Reddick got Oakland on the scoreboard in the first with a solo shot to right.

Two more runs came around to score in the top of the fourth when third baseman Brandon Inge sent a 1-0 sinker into the seats in left for his 11th homer of the year. Laffey found himself in more trouble during the fifth, as he loaded the bases with just one out, but managed to get out of the inning having surrendered only one run.

Laffey picked up the no-decision after being charged with four runs on five hits, while walking three and striking out four. Right-hander Brandon Lyon earned his first victory in a Blue Jays' uniform with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.

"There were a lot more than a few mistakes," Laffey said. "I walked three guys, put myself in a bad position in that one inning. I got the ground ball, it was just hit too softly to turn a double play. Just fell behind some guys today and the defense picked me up big time."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.