OAKLAND — The A’s got their second half rolling with an inspired comeback win over one of the American League’s hottest teams.
They erased a four-run deficit with help from three home runs and beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-7 to open a three-game series at the Coliseum.
It was an emotionally charged game for the A’s on various fronts. Yonder Alonso got ejected for arguing a called third strike by home plate umpire Mark Wegner in the fourth. Moments later, manager Bob Melvin ran out and also got thumbed.
When Vogt delivered a game-tying homer in the fifth, he went bouncing up and down through the homer tunnel created by his teammates in the dugout. But perhaps the A’s were also inspired on a day that rookie Ryon Healy was called up and inserted in the starting lineup, a signal that management had seen enough of the caliber of play that led the A’s to a 38-51 mark over the first half.
Daniel Mengden struggled, giving up six earned runs over 3 1/3 innings. But he was picked up by an offense that hasn’t done enough damage with the long ball as a team this season.
Starting pitching report
Mengden got roughed up for the second start in a row, giving up seven runs (six earned) in 3 1/3 innings. Going back over his past three outings, the rookie has surrendered 16 earned runs over 13 1/3 innings. He’s also walked nine over that span. Mengden was hurt Friday by three walks and two wild pitches, with the Blue Jays doing their most damage during a four-run fourth that put them ahead 7-3.
It was an ensemble effort that carried the load after Mengden left. Liam Hendriks, Marc Rzepczynski, John Axford, Ryan Dull and Ryan Madson provided 5 2/3 scoreless innings to hold Toronto at bay.
At the plate
They entered the night with just six home runs in July, tied for the fewest in the majors for the month. But the A’s went deep three times Friday, including back-to-back shots from Khris Davis and Stephen Vogt that tied the game, 7-7, in the fifth. Davis’ two-run homer to center was his 20th of the season. Consider that Josh Reddick hit 20 to lead the A’s for the season; Davis reached that milestone in just the team’s 90th game. Vogt also went deep to center, and that chased Jays starter Marcus Stroman, who couldn’t hold a four-run lead. Reddick also homered off Stroman, a solo shot deep to center in the third that briefly tied the game 3-3.
That trio also keyed the A’s go-ahead rally in the seventh. Reddick walked with two outs, moved to second on Davis’ single and came around to score on Vogt’s single up the middle. Reddick initially was called out on the close play, but a replay review overturned the call and the A’s went up 8-7.
In the field
Healy went 0-for-4 in his major league debut, but he turned in a handful of nice plays and showed a strong arm at third base.
The announced crowd was 19,192.
Sonny Gray (3-8, 5.16) looks to turn the page from a rough first half when he takes the mound in Saturday’s 1:05 p.m. game. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (7-9, 3.93) goes for the Blue Jays.