Sweeney's ninth-inning triple lifts A's past Blue Jays

TORONTO (AP) -- Mike Sweeney tries to make a good impression on his young Oakland teammates with hard play.

On Tuesday night, Sweeney fired up the Athletics with a hard slide in the sixth inning, and Oakland went on to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 9-8 behind Ryan Sweeney's RBI triple in the ninth. Kurt Suzuki singled up the middle off right-hander Jeremy Accardo (0-1) with two outs in the ninth and Ryan Sweeney followed with his big hit. He finished 2-for-5 with two RBIs.

Oakland scored twice in the sixth when Jack Cust hit a bases-loaded fielder's choice grounder. Lyle Overbay forced out Mike Sweeney at second, but Sweeney's slide pressured shortstop David Eckstein into making a throwing error that allowed Daric Barton to score.

"That's what us older guys have to do here," Mike Sweeney said. "It's the little things. Playing the game hard, running out groundballs, moving guys over, trying to break up a double play.

"That may or may not have helped us win the game tonight but it set the tone for our team," he said. "With so many young guys, we have to have high intensity every play of the game."

Oakland manager Bob Geren praised Sweeney's leadership.

"He plays the game hard and he plays the game right," Geren said. "He broke up two the clean way. When you put pressure on the defense in lots of different ways, that's the right way to play."

Oakland blew leads of 6-3 and 8-6, but still picked up the win.

"Every time they came back, we just wanted to go back ahead again," Ryan Sweeney said. "We're not going to give up until the game is over."

Outfielder Travis Buck ended an 0-for-22 slump in the second with an RBI double, his first career hit. Buck said Oakland's veterans are teaching valuable lessons.

"We have so many new guys and we're really young," Buck said. "We don't have that much experience. The guys that have a lot of experience, that's how they play. By us young guys watching them, it makes us that much more excited to work as hard as they do."

Alan Embree (1-1) got the win despite allowing a two-run homer to Frank Thomas in the eighth to make it 8-all. The homer was Thomas' third in three games.

Huston Street worked the ninth for his first save.

Oakland right-hander Chad Gaudin was activated off the disabled list before the game to start in place of Rich Harden, who was pushed back because of a strained muscle in his upper arm. Gaudin allowed six runs -- five earned -- on eight hits in four innings. He walked one and struck out two.

The Athletics roughed up Toronto starter A.J. Burnett with five runs in the second. Suzuki, Ryan Sweeney, Buck, Mark Ellis and Barton all drove in runs as Oakland opened a 6-3 lead.

Burnett, who pitched six strong innings to beat the Yankees in New York on April 2, was not sharp in this one, allowing six runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out one.

"It wasn't me tonight and I can't allow that to happen," Burnett said. "It's my loss tonight. It sucks that it's going to go down as a team loss because if it wasn't for me out there we would have hung in there a lot better than we did."

Toronto's Aaron Hill matched a career high with four hits -- including a two-run homer in the fourth inning. It was the seventh time in Hill's career that he had four hits.

Vernon Wells, who hit a three-run homer in the third for Toronto, excused Burnett for his poor performance.

"There's not going to be too many times where we have to bail those guys out," Wells said. "We did what we could and tried to get back in it."

Game notes
3B Scott Rolen had a pin removed from his broken right middle finger Monday and will be able to start hitting off a tee by Friday or Saturday. Rolen will join the Blue Jays in Baltimore April 14 and 15 and begin full hitting and fielding drills shortly after. There is no date for his return. ... LHP B.J. Ryan, who is recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery, will pitch one inning for Class-A Dunedin Wednesday, then move up to Triple-A Syracuse for three or four appearances, working on alternate days. Ryan is expected to rejoin the Blue Jays before the end of April. ... Oakland LHP Greg Smith is expected to make his major league debut against Toronto Wednesday in place of RHP Justin Duchscherer, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained biceps.