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