Blue Jays’ Winning Streak Goes to 11

Ryan Goins hit a home run and pitcher Mark Buehrle was solid as the Toronto Blue Jays won their 11th game in a row on Thursday with a 4-2 home victory over the Oakland Athletics.

Buehrle (13-5) had two strikeouts and allowed seven hits and two runs over seven-plus innings as Toronto (64-52) extended its winning streak. Aaron Sanchez pitched a scoreless inning of relief while Roberto Osuna earned his 12th save of the season.

That win streak has helped Toronto climb from fourth to first in the American League East in a span of 16 days.

Billy Burns hit a triple for Oakland (51-65), which has lost three straight, all in Toronto. Starting pitcher Jesse Chavez (6-12) struck out nine but allowed four runs and six hits over six innings.

Drew Pomeranz and Fernando Rodriguez combined for two scoreless innings out of the bullpen for the Athletics.

The decision to start Chavez against his former team came just hours before the first pitch. Athletics ace Sonny Gray was scheduled against the Blue Jays, but back spasms kept him from playing. Chavez pitched in nine games for Toronto in 2012.

Gray is the American League’s earned-run average leader at 2.06 and is 12-4 in 23 starts. He’s lost just once in his past 10 outings.

Buehrle got in trouble early, loading the bases with no outs in the first. Burns led off with what appeared to be a double down the left-field line, but was sent back to the plate when a challenge review ruled that it was foul.

Burns then got on base with a walk. Mark Canha hit a single that Kevin Pillar seemingly had a bead on in centre field but then dropped between him and left-fielder Ben Revere. The bases were then filled when Jose Bautista couldn’t hold on to Brett Lawrie’s single to right field.

Buehrle bore down, inducing a double play at home and first from Danny Valencia, then Josh Phegley ground out to end the inning.

Pillar got Toronto on the board with a single to right field that brought home catcher Dioner Navarro and advanced Justin Smoak to second. Goins cashed in both baserunners with a towering shot over the right-field fence for a 4-0 Toronto lead.

Oakland finally got to Buehrle in the eighth inning when Burns tripled to right field, sending Marcus Semien home.

That run ended Buehrle’s day. He exited to a rousing standing ovation from the 46,902 in attendance, Toronto’s seventh sellout of the season. Sanchez came in from the bullpen to relieve Buehrle.

Canha drove in Burns with a groundout to second, making it 4-2. The second run was also charged to Buehrle as Burns got on base while he was still the pitcher of record.

Sanchez escaped the inning without allowing anymore runs. Osuna induced three popouts to end the game.

By: John Chidley-Hill
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