Liri­ano pitches five solid in­nings, Martin homers; Blue Jays end slide

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - MELISSA COUTO

TORONTO — Fran­cisco Liri­ano shook off two straight rough starts to earn his first win since the all-star break and Rus­sell Martin home­red as the Toronto Blue Jays snapped a three-game slide with a 4-2 Amer­i­can League base­ball win over the lowly Oak­land Ath­let­ics on Mon­day night.

Both teams, last in their re­spec­tive di­vi­sions, opened their four-game se­ries 10 games be­low .500.

Liri­ano (6-5) al­lowed two runs on two hits while walk­ing two and strik­ing out five over five in­nings to help raise Toronto’s dis­ap­point­ing record to 45-54. Bounc­ing back from two short out­ings in a row, Liri­ano threw 86 pitches, 51 for strikes. The vet­eran lefty was chased from his last start in Bos­ton af­ter 1 2/3 in­nings and lasted just two in­nings in his start be­fore that in Detroit.

Ryan Goins, Eze­quiel Car­rera and Justin Smoak also drove in runs for the Blue Jays and Roberto Osuna struck out the side in the ninth for his 25th save of the sea­son.

Healy gave Oak­land a 1-0 lead in the first in­ning, bring­ing in Mar­cus Semien from sec­ond base on a sin­gle. But Toronto replied in the bot­tom of the frame with Martin’s 10th homer of the sea­son, a solo shot to left-cen­tre field to tie the game.

Toronto cashed in two runs in the fourth, the first on a one-out Car­rera sin­gle and the sec­ond on a two-out base hit from Goins, both with the bases loaded. The Blue Jays looked poised to break the game open, but Jose Bautista hit a weak ground ball to end the threat.

Chap­man’s solo homer cut the lead to 3-2 in the next in­ning. The homer, a no-doubter to deep cen­tre field with one out, snapped a streak of 12 straight re­tired bat­ters for Liri­ano that started in the first in­ning.

Toronto dou­bled its lead to 4-2 in the sev­enth when re­liever Josh Smith walked Smoak with the bases loaded. Sim­coe’s John Ax­ford had started the in­ning for Oak­land but was re­placed af­ter he loaded the bases with no­body out. NOTES: Goins is now 9 for 12 with the bases loaded this sea­son . ... At­ten­dance was 39,613 . ... Right-han­der Ce­sar Valdez (0-0, 2.70 earned-run av­er­age) will make his first start for Toronto in Tues­day night’s game.

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