Francisco Liriano, Toronto Blue Jays limit Oakland Athletics to two hits

By Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Francisco Liriano pitches. File photo by Darren Calabrese/UPI
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Francisco Liriano pitches. File photo by Darren Calabrese/UPI | License Photo

TORONTO -- Francisco Liriano knows that his name is popping up in rumors as the July 31 trade deadline approaches.

The Toronto left-hander has been through it previously. The Pittsburgh Pirates dealt him to the Blue Jays last year.


"I've been part of this before in my life. I try not to pay attention to that and try to concentrate on what I can control," Liriano said after pitching five innings to earn the decision in the Blue Jays' 4-2 victory night over the Oakland Athletics on Monday. "And stuff like that I cannot control."

In the first inning, Liriano had trouble controlling what he should be able to control -- his pitches.

Liriano (6-5) walked the first two batters, but he wound up allowing just two hits, two runs and the two walks to earn his first win since July 6.


Russell Martin homered, and Ezequiel Carrera added two singles, an RBI and a walk for the Blue Jays (45-54), who ended a three-game losing streak by winning the opener or the four-game series.

Ryan Goins chipped in with an RBI single and a double for Toronto in its first home game since the All-Star break following a 3-7 trip.

Oakland's Matt Chapman homered for the third game in a row.

The Athletics (44-55) have lost five of their past seven games after winning their first three games after the All-Star break. They had only two hits Monday.

Joe Biagini got around a leadoff walk in the sixth and went two innings in relief of Liriano, who was pitching on three days' rest after lasting only 1 2/3 innings in his start Thursday.

Ryan Tepera pitched a perfect top of the eighth for Toronto. Roberto Osuna struck out the side in the ninth to earn his 25th save of the season.

A's starter Chris Smith (0-1), making his third career major league start at the age of 36, allowed three runs, six hits and three walks in six innings. He left with Oakland trailing 3-2.


"It was fun but it was nerve-racking," said Smith, who made his first career start July 8.

John Axford replaced Smith in the seventh inning and issued a leadoff walk to Jose Bautista.

Martin followed with a single, and Josh Donaldson walked to load the bases. Josh Smith replaced Axford and walked Justin Smoak for force in a run and restore a two-run lead. A strikeout of Steve Pearce and a double-play grounder by Troy Tulowitzki cut the rally short.

"It's going to be tough to score enough runs to win a game with (two hits)," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. "We tried to drive (Liriano's) pitch count up because he's pitching on three days' rest and he's probably not going to be out there too long. He did just enough, and the bullpen shut us down."

Liriano, who pitched a total of 3 2/3 innings in his previous two starts, walked Rajai Davis and Marcus Semien to start the game. Davis was thrown out trying to steal third.


Semien, who had advanced to second, scored on a single by Ryon Healy, who continued to second when the ball bounced over Pearce's head in left field for an error.

Liriano limited the damage by retiring the next two batters.

"He walked his first two guys and then he settled in," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He had great stuff tonight, there's no doubt about that, he normally does. Russ (catcher Russell Martin) ends up throwing out Raj (Rajai Davis) there at third base. (That) was huge, then he settled in and he gave us just what we needed. The bullpen did a great job again. "

Martin tied the game with one out in the bottom of the first when he hit his 10th homer of the season to left-center.

The Blue Jays scored twice in the bottom of the fourth to lead 3-1.

Donaldson led off with a double. Smoak and Tulowitzki walked to load the bases with one out. Carrera and Goins followed with RBI singles to center.

Liriano retired 12 batters in a row before Chapman homered to center in the fifth inning, his fifth of the season, to trim the lead to 3-2.


"I could have gone a little bit further in the game," Liriano said. "My last outing was really short, so my body felt great today."

NOTES: Oakland RHP Josh Smith was recalled from Nashville and INF/OF Matt Olson was optioned to the Triple-A club. It is Smith's second stint this season with the A's. He was 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA in 24 innings before being optioned to Nashville on July 1. Smith pitched two scoreless innings Monday. ... Toronto SS Troy Tulowitzki returned to the lineup Monday after missing two games with a groin injury. He went 0-for-3 with a walk. ... A's INF Ryon Healy was at DH Monday, his first state since taking a ground ball to the head Friday. He was restricted to one pinch-hit appearance in the next two games. Healy finished 1-for-4 with an RBI on Monday.

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