Sweet swinging A's throttle Blue Jays to open series 

click to enlarge Oakland Athletics' Yoenis Cespedes (52) is congratulated after scoring against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning of Monday's game. Cespedes scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Reddick (16). - AP PHOTO/BEN MARGOT
  • AP Photo/Ben Margot
  • Oakland Athletics' Yoenis Cespedes (52) is congratulated after scoring against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning of Monday's game. Cespedes scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Reddick (16).

OAKLAND -- Look out American League, Yoenis Cespedes is heating up.

The Cuban left fielder followed up Sunday's three-hit performance by collecting three more hits, a home run and three RBIs on Monday in a 9-4 A's win over the Toronto Blue Jays at the O.co Coliseum. Cespedes snapped out of an 0-for-13 slump by going 3-for-5 at the plate on Sunday and tying a career high with four RBIs.

"In a period when we weren't swinging the bats well, it looks like we're coming around," A's manager Bob Melvin said.

With their seventh win in nine games, the A's (63-43) maintained their six-game lead over the Texas Rangers in the AL West and tied the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox for the most wins in baseball.

"We're still in July," Melvin said. "The good news about the record is that we've been consistent every month."

The A's bats jumped on Blue Jays starter Esmil Rogers (3-5) early Monday, scoring four runs in the first inning, two of which came off a stand-up triple down the left-field line from Cespedes. Oakland added a fifth run in the third inning after Seth Smith snapped a 0-for-30 drought by doubling in Brandon Moss. The A's tagged on three more in the fifth when Moss, Josh Donaldson, Josh Reddick, Smith and Stephen Vogt strung together five straight hits.

Donaldson's fifth-inning single ended an 0-for-17 stretch at the plate.

Cespedes, the Home Run Derby champ, broke out of his career-high 25-game homerless streak by drilling a pitch from All-Star Brett Cecil over the left-field wall in the eighth, his 16th home run of the season.

A's right fielder Josh Reddick is getting hot at the plate, too. He went 1-for-4 with a double, three RBIs and a sacrifice fly on Monday.

"They're too talented to stay down too long ... Reddick and Cespedes," Melvin said. "And their going to mean a lot to us down the stretch."

As the A's piled up runs, starter A.J Griffin (10-7) mowed down the first 13 batters he faced. But Griffin lost the perfect game and shutout when Adam Lind took him deep to left with one out in the fifth. The second hit Griffin surrendered was also a home run to Edwin Encarnacion in the sixth with Jose Bautista aboard, and the third hit was a dinger to Brett Lawrie later in the inning.

In 22 starts, Griffin has given up 26 home runs, more than any other pitcher in Major League Baseball. However, 19 of the 26 homers have been solo shots.

Melvin said Griffin has to stop thinking about the home runs.

"It's like a self-fulfilling prophecy at times when you starting thinking about it and talking about it, then all of a sudden it's going to be in the back of your mind," he said.

Griffin allowed one more hit -- a single to J.P. Arencibia -- in the seventh. The right-hander finished the night allowing four earned runs on four hits and two walks over seven innings pitched.

Sean Doolittle pitched the eighth inning for the A's and Jerry Blevins finished the Blue Jays off with a 1-2-3 ninth.

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Paul Gackle

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