OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Eric Hinske hit a three-run homer to
extend his early-season tear and Gregg Zaun added a solo shot in
the Toronto Blue Jays' fourth straight win, 5-2 over the Oakland
Athletics on Tuesday night.
Josh Towers (1-0) shut down the A's again with 6 2/3 efficient innings, improving to 5-1 lifetime in the Coliseum and 5-2 in eight career appearances against Oakland. He beat the A's twice last year.The right-hander, who won a career-best nine games in 2004 but lost five straight decisions in his last six starts, retired 14 of his final 16 batters after a walk to Charles Thomas in the third. Towers allowed two earned runs on six hits, struck out six and walked one.The surprising Blue Jays, in first place in the AL East, have won their first three series of the season for the first time since taking six straight series in 2001. They started their nine-game road trip with a 10-3 win Monday night to spoil the A's home opener.They are getting big hits from throughout their talented lineup. Shea Hillenbrand had two hits and Zaun drew two walks in the eighth hole before hitting his second homer of the year in the ninth.Miguel Batista pitched the ninth for his third save.A's starter Dan Haren (0-1) didn't give up a hit until Corey
Koskie's two-out single in the fourth. Hillenbrand followed with a
single, then Hinske hit his third homer. He sent a 3-2 pitch high
over the wall in center, easily clearing the outstretched glove of
Mark Kotsay.The right-handed Haren retired the first six batters he faced
before Alex Rios reached on Marco Scutaro's throwing error leading
off the third. Scutaro, filling in at shortstop while reigning AL
rookie of the year Bobby Crosby nurses fractured ribs, made a low
throw to first base that Scott Hatteberg couldn't handle.Rios stole second, went to third on Zaun's groundout, then
scored the unearned run on an RBI grounder by Russ Adams.Haren gave up three earned runs and five hits in seven innings,
struck out three and walked three. Rookie Nick Swisher hit a
two-run double in the second to give the A's the lead but it didn't
last. He also made a nice running catch in the warning track dirt
on Koskie's flyball.At 3-5, the A's are under .500 through eight games for the first
time since beginning 2-10 in 2001.Haren got a no-decision last Thursday at Baltimore despite
allowing one earned run on three hits in six sharp innings in the
team's 5-1 win. Acquired in the December trade that sent Mark
Mulder to St. Louis, he needed only 13 pitches to get through the
first two innings Tuesday.
Both starters threw 100 pitches. ... A's C Jason Kendall
moved down a spot in the order to No. 3 and LF Thomas hit second,
an experiment by A's manager Ken Macha. ... Blue Jays hitting coach
Mike Barnett rejoined the team two weeks after having retinal
surgery on his left eye. He had to stay in Florida after the
operation late in spring training because he wasn't allowed to fly.
... The announced attendance was a generous 10,106, after the A's
drew a sellout crowd of 44,815.