One game. Just one game is all there is left in the series between the Oakland Athletics (20-59) and the Toronto Blue Jays (42-36) that saw the Canadians tie the matchup at one apiece after beating the visitors 3-7 on Saturday.
One game. Just one game is all there is separating the A's from losing their 60th game of the season. They have a chance to return back to the United States with a 59 still sitting in the L column. If they want that to happen, the A's will need to beat the Jays on Sunday... and win a series since they last did it against Milwaukee between June 9 and 11. Uh, oh.
After winning the series opener on Friday by a razor-thin one-run margin, the A's made a last-minute change and decided to go with Shintaro Fujinami (3-7) as the opener instead of starting rookie Hogan Harris (2-1) straight. And oh boy did they end up paying for that.
Jose Berrios (8-5), standing on Toronto's mound, dealt quickly with Oakland's first three batters to get things started. Fujinami can't say the same: single, double, sac-fly (Toronto up 1-0), groundout, single (Toronto up 2-0), single... and pitching substitution.
That's Fuji's day for you. 0.2 innings pitched, two runs allowed on four hits, no strikeouts, no walks, one hella big loss.
Hogan Harris wasn't expected to enter the game until late in the second inning or even at the start of the third had things gone well for Fuji, but that was never the case.
The truth is, Oakland kinda kept Toronto close enough for the largest part of the game. Seth Brown hit a bomb on the second pitch he saw cutting the Blue Jays' lead in half.
Of course, the A's were inoperant after that and Toronto took advantage one half-inning later with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. getting banged by a pitch with the bases loaded and Harris giving free way to Santiago Espinal to come home safe and without any worries.
It was a day in which hitters were kept honest on both sides, as Tony Kemp got rocked by Berrios in the top of the third. Ryan Noda would follow with a double to bat Kemp in making it 2-3 Blue Jays. Again, that was it.
And again, the Blue Jays responded with Danny Jansen's two-run homer in the bottom of the third, extending their lead to 5-2 with a very solid dinger topped in the sixth inning by Vladito's own two-run bomb, his second in as many games and also through the whole campaign in games played north of frontier.
Nothing happened after that, with Guerrero's home run charged to reliever Austin Pruitt as he replaced Hogan Harris just before allowing Jr. to put the ball past the outfield fences.
Tim Mayza, Nate Pearson, Yimi Garcia, and finally Jordan Romano closed out the game in victory for the Jays with the latter getting the save, his 23rd in 26 chances.
The A's will face Toronto for a third and final time on Sunday with an early start scheduled for the rubber game of the series. Barring another unexpected change of plans, Oakland should name rookie Luis Medina (1-6, 7.01 ERA) as its starter going against Toronto's ace Yusei Kikuchi (6-2, 3.97).