The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - MICHAEL WAGAMAN

Don­ald­son’s two-out, ninth-in­ning hero­ics pre­vent sweep.

OAK­LAND, CALIF. — Two days af­ter strik­ing out on an un­ex­pected two-seam fast­ball from John Ax­ford, Toronto slug­ger Josh Don­ald­son had a much bet­ter view of things when he faced the Oak­land Ath­let­ics’ re­liever again.

This time Don­ald­son didn’t get fooled and pre­vented the Blue Jays from get­ting swept in their first se­ries com­ing out of Ma­jor League Base­ball’s all-star break.

Don­ald­son hit a tiebreak­ing two-run dou­ble off Ax­ford, from An­caster, with two outs in the ninth against his former team and Toronto held on to beat Oak­land 5-3 on Sun­day.

“He just started throw­ing a two-seamer and I didn’t re­ally know he had that,” Don­ald­son said of Ax­ford. “He busted it out on me (Fri­day), a good pitch. To­day I was able to see it and get in a favourable count where I could zone it up more.”

Don­ald­son also sin­gled and scored in the first in­ning to help Toronto win af­ter Oak­land starter Rich Hill left the game with a blis­ter on his fin­ger in the open­ing in­ning.

Troy Tu­low­itzki home­red while Rus­sell Martin and Justin Smoak added two hits apiece for Toronto.

The Blue Jays needed it af­ter los­ing their first two games com­ing out of the all-star break to fall four games be­hind first place Bal­ti­more in the Amer­i­can League East.

“We des­per­ately needed that as a team,” Toronto man­ager John Gib­bons said. “We had the lit­tle lead, they came back and tied it. That’s a big win for us.”

Smoak and Ju­nior Lake hit con­sec­u­tive one-out sin­gles off John Ax­ford (3-3) in the ninth. Devon Travis struck out look­ing be­fore Don­ald­son lined a 2-1 pitch down the left-field line to drive in pinch-run­ner Andy Burns and Lake.

Don­ald­son, who played in Oak­land from 2010-14, was greeted with a rous­ing ova­tion and chants of “MVP, MVP” from the crowd of 21,626 at the Coli­seum.

Ja­son Grilli (3-1) re­tired three bat­ters for the win. Roberto Osuna pitched the ninth for his 19th save. Mar­cus Semien home­red for the A’s. “Nice lit­tle fight un­til the end,” Oak­land man­ager Bob Melvin said.

“They got a key hit when they had to in the ninth.” HAPP HIT TWICE Happ had won six con­sec­u­tive starts, but left af­ter get­ting hit by line drives twice, in­clud­ing once near his left el­bow by Jake Smolin­ski’s liner in the fifth. The Blue Jays’ lefty al­lowed three runs over 5 2/3 in­nings with five strike­outs and one walk. “Hope­fully he’ll be fine, but you never know if it’s go­ing to stiffen up on him,” Gib­bons said. “He gut­ted it out. That doesn’t sur­prise me. I’ve seen him get hit in the head.”

UP NEXT Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (9-1) pitches the opener of a two-game se­ries in Ari­zona on Tues­day. He has eight straight wins and a 2.87 ERA since suf­fer­ing his lone loss of the sea­son to Oak­land on April 22. Ath­let­ics: RHP Ken­dall Grave­man (5-6) starts against Hous­ton on Monday at the Coli­seum.


Blue Jays’ Josh Don­ald­son gets a big hit off of Ath­let­ics John Ax­ford in the ninth Sun­day.


Blue Jays short­stop Troy Tu­low­itzki hits a two-run home run in the fourth in­ning.

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