OAKLAND, Calif. – Jeff Samardzija pitched seven strong innings to win his Oakland debut and the Athletics beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 on Sunday to complete a four-game sweep.
Samardzija, acquired a day earlier in a trade with the Chicago Cubs, received several standing ovations. He was cheered during pregame warmups and again after striking out the side in the seventh.
Samardzija gave up one run and four hits. He struck out five and walked one while earning his first win since June 7.
With the Cubs, Samardzija was 2-7 despite a 2.83 ERA.
Jed Lowrie had two hits and scored twice, and leadoff hitter John Jaso added a pair of hits and an RBI for the A’s, who won their fourth straight following a three-game sweep in Detroit.
Stephen Vogt singled and tripled to help the A’s complete their first series sweep of the Blue Jays since taking a three-game series in 2000. Oakland hadn’t swept a four-game series from Toronto since May 22-24, 1981.
Nate Freiman and Craig Gentry also drove in runs for the A’s.
Lowrie doubled and scored in the second, then Oakland added two more in the fourth to extend their majors-leading record to 55-33.
Pinch-hitter Derek Norris added an RBI double in the eighth for Oakland.
Steve Tolleson had a pinch-hit home run off A’s closer Sean Doolittle in the ninth for the Blue Jays, who have lost six straight on the road. Doolittle got his 13th save.
Toronto got a stellar outing from starter Drew Hutchison but for the fourth straight game had little success offensively. The Blue Jays went 0 for 18 with runners in scoring position during the series.
They didn’t have many opportunities against Samardzija and two relievers. Toronto managed just four baserunners over the final eight innings and had only two get past first base.
Oakland general manager Billy Beane got Samardzija and pitcher Jason Hammel for a package of prospects that included the two most recent first-round draft picks by the A’s.
Samardzija pitched out of a two-on, one-out jam in the first by getting cleanup hitter Jose Bautista to ground into an inning-ending double play. Samardzija retired 13 of the next 14 batters he faced until Jose Reyes singled with one out in the sixth.
Munenori Kawasaki followed with a double and Melky Cabrera’s groundout scored Reyes.
Hutchison (6-7) struck out four and walked two in his first career start against the A’s.
The punchless Blue Jays went into the game shorthanded. Edwin Encarnacion strained his right quad legging out an infield grounder on Saturday and was held out of the lineup. The Toronto slugger underwent an MRI before the game, though the results were not disclosed.
© The Canadian Press, 2014