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A's win fifth of sixth

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Joe Blanton was just hoping to pitch the
way he had in his first four starts. Getting his first major league
win was a bonus.

Blanton allowed four hits over seven strong innings, leading the
Oakland Athletics to a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on
Saturday night.

"I wasn't thinking about winning a whole lot lately," Blanton
said. "I tried to iron out some mechanics so I could get back to
throwing like I can. It's a little special but in five days I have
to go back out and I need to keep working on things."

Blanton had not made it out of the fifth inning in five of his
previous six starts and that included an awful outing in Tamp Bay
on May 25 in which he allowed eight runs while getting just one
out.

"After the debacle in Tampa he's rebounded very well," A's
manager Ken Macha said. "As an organization we feel he's our
future."

Blanton got a big defensive play from Eric Byrnes, who also had
a game-tying home run.

After Orlando Hudson and Frank Catalanotto singled to open the
sixth, Vernon Wells hit a flyball to center field. Byrnes turned it
into a double play when he threw out Hudson trying to advance to
third.

"I look at that as the game," Blanton said. "It was a huge
double play. That was a great throw."

Byrnes, who was in center only because Mark Kotsay sat out with
tightness in his back, was more worried about catching the ball.

"I haven't been playing a lot in center so I was going to worry
about the baserunners after I caught the ball," Byrnes said. "I
don't think it was a terrible play on him; I was just fortunate
enough to make a good throw to get him."

Byrnes hit his homer in the bottom of the sixth.

"All of a sudden Byrnes becomes clutch like he always does,"
said Nick Swisher, who hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh.
"Byrnes also caught the final out so I ran over to make sure I got
the ball for Blanton. To finally get that first win, it's a heck of
a night for him."

Eric Chavez also homered and Dan Johnson added three hits as the
A's won their fifth in six games following a season-worst
eight-game skid.

Vernon Wells and Alex Rios each homered for the Blue Jays, who
lost their third in four games.

Blanton (1-5) won for the first time in 11 starts. He struck out
three and walked one.

Wells hit a solo home run with two outs in the first and Rios
homered with two outs in the second to give Toronto an early 2-0
lead.

Blanton settled down to retire the next 10 batters he faced and
got out of a jam in the sixth.

"He made pitches when he needed and did a great job of keeping
his team in the game," Wells said. "He gave their offense a
chance to come through."

Former A's starter Ted Lilly, making his 20th career start in
Oakland, retired 13 of the first 15 hitters he faced and looked
nothing like the pitcher who brought a 9.92 road ERA into the
contest.

Lilly (3-6) ran into trouble by walking Chavez with two outs in
the sixth. Byrnes then connected for his fifth home run of the
year, tying the game at 2-all.

The former All-Star had an 8.56 ERA against his former team in
three previous career starts, his highest against any AL opponent.
His seven wins in Oakland are his most anywhere except for Toronto.

"I'm pretty discouraged," Lilly said. "Right now it seems
like I'm finding a way to lose. That at-bat to Byrnes was a
situation where I needed to make good pitches. You can only get
away with mistakes for so long an he ended up making me pay."

Bobby Crosby walked and Johnson doubled to open the seventh
against Lilly, who fell to 0-4 on the road. Swisher hit a sharp
grounder up the middle, which Russ Adams dove to stop but then --
sitting on the ground -- threw wildly to first, allowing a second
run to score.

Lilly allowed four runs on six hits in six-plus innings with
three walks and two strikeouts.

Ricardo Rincon recorded the first two outs of the eighth for the
A's, and rookie Huston Street got the final four outs for his
second save in four opportunities.

Game notes
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons missed the game because of
an illness. He was released from a San Francisco hospital and is
expected to manage on Sunday. Bench coach Ernie Whitt ran the team.
... 1B coach Mickey Brantley missed his second straight game to
attend his son's high school graduation in Florida. ... The A's hit
more than one homer in a game for the first time since May 6 and
just the fifth time all season. ... RHP Kiko Calero is expected to
be activated off the DL in the next few days.