A's stay hot against Jays

Oakland Athletics batter Yoenis Cespedes hits a three run single against the Toronto Blue Jays...

Oakland Athletics batter Yoenis Cespedes hits a three run single against the Toronto Blue Jays during the seventh inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Toronto July 24, 2012. (REUTERS)

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:59 PM ET

TORONTO - This is the kind of series Major League Baseball's extra wild-card berth is supposed to make important -- the kind the Blue Jays should show up for. Like at Fenway.

Instead, you could almost hear Shea Hillenbrand’s “this ship is sinking” yell.

Jays hitters did little with lefty Travis Blackley, the winner in a 7-2 romp before 25,686 fans at the Rogers Centre. The Jays managed a homer from Travis Snider, a double by J.P. Arencibia and three singles in seven innings against Blackley. Brett Cecil left after six trailing 2-1.

Blackley was making his 17th career start after breaking in with the Seattle Mariners. In 2004, his rookie year, he pitched in Toronto.

“We have a long way to go,” said right fielder Rajai Davis. “If we keep getting well-pitched games by our starters like this one, we’ll be OK. You know we’re going to score runs.

“Remember when the Colorado Rockies got hot that September? That’s what gives me hope.”

Colorado won 14 of its final 15 games, including 11 straight to reach the 2007 World Series.

The Jays longest winning streak this season has been four games.

The A’s are 15-2 this month, while the Jays are 8-10, sitting seventh in the wild-card race, 3.5 games behind the A’s.

TRADE TALK: Mark Wiley of the Miami Marlins is here watching both the Oakland A’s, who are interested in Hanley Ramirez. If the A’s are unable to land Ramirez to play short, their back-up plan is Yunel Escobar. Escobar is hitting .255 with six homers and 34 RBIs and has the lowest OPS amongst the Jays regulars (.643). Wiley’s background is pitching.

IN GAME: Arencibia hit his 16th homer in the ninth ... Chad Beck allowed a run-scoring triple to Jemile Weeks to knock in the first run of a five-run seventh ... Making his first start at the Rogers Centre since July 29, Snider didn’t get that big of a reaction when he came to the plate leading off the third. Three pitches later they were cheering the fan fave as Snider hit an 0-2 pitch over the right field fence to cut Oakland’s lead to 2-1 ... Brett Lawrie had three hits, including a double.

THE ONE-STRIKE SHIFT: Third baseman Lawrie moved to short right on left-handed hitter Josh Reddick after Cecil threw strike one in the first. The 3-2 pitch was hit directly to Lawrie ... Lawrie did the same thing after a first-pitch strike in the third as Reddick hit a one-hopper to short for an inning-ending double play ... After Cecil began with a ball in the sixth and Lawrie eventually was in right, Reddick bunted a 2-1 pitch for a base hit.

HAPP IN WAITING: The Jays say the reason they dealt seven players was to acquire an experienced starter in J.A. Happ (90 career starts). Yet, the experienced starter remains in the bullpen and will probably stay there after Cecil’s impressive six innings. Cecil allowed two runs -- a two-run homer by catcher Derek Norris -- and five hits. He walked two and struck out eight in his 94-pitch outing ... “We expect (Happ) to be in there eventually,” said manager John Farrell ... Farrell said before the game that Happ could replace any member of the Jays rotation (Ricky Romero, Henderson Alvarez, Carlos Villanueva, Aaron Laffey or Cecil), but after painting with a broad brush added “Romero has earned the right to keep his spot.” ... Happ, who had not relieved before joining the Jays since May 13, 2009 as a Philadelphia Phillie, made his second appearance Tuesday. Entering with a man on third in a 3-1 game, Happ allowed a double to Coco Crisp, walked Jonny Gomes and Reddick (intentionally, after a double steal) before falling behind Yoenis Cespedes 3-1. Cespedes, with the runners on the move, then lined a 3-2 pitch into left-centre for a three-run single.

BLACKLEY BACKGROUND: The Aussie's previous start in Toronto was July 7, 2004, so long ago that Josh Phelps hit two homers, one off Blackley, knocking in seven runs. Josh Towers picked up the win as the Jays moved to within eight games of .500 with the win ... None of the Jays in the lineup that night were there Tuesday, although Gregg Zaun was in the building.


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