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Blue Jays unable to counter late as Pache’s 2-run homer proves winner for Athletics

Cristian Pache hit a game-breaking two-run homer in the ninth inning to propel the Oakland Athletics to a 7-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Center in Toronto.

After Christian Bethancourt reached a one-out single, Pache hit a 1-0 fastball from Toronto reliever Julian Merryweather (0-2) who barely cleared the wall into right field for his first homer of the season.

Dany Jimenez (1-0) worked the eighth inning and Lou Trivino recorded the final three outs for his second save. Sean Murphy homered and scored twice for Oakland (5-4).

Matt Chapman and Zack Collins went deep for the Blue Jays (5-4), who had recovered from a four-point deficit early on.

With George Springer not in the starting lineup, Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo moved right fielder Raimel Tapia up front and the move paid off immediately.

Tapia passed Athletics starter Paul Blackburn and moved up to third on a pitch. He scored when Sean Murphy dropped a high pitch at home plate by third baseman Kevin Smith after a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. helicopter.

A clean opening frame from Toronto southpaw Hyun Jin Ryu was followed by a rocky start to the second set. Oakland recorded four straight hits — including doubles from Murphy, Smith and Bethancourt — to take a 3-1 lead.

The Athletics tacked on two extra runs in the third when Murphy hit a pitch into the second tier of seats in left center field. The homerun ball was returned to the field much to the delight of the fans in the standing room section.

Quality hits against reliever Domingo Acevedo helped Toronto tie the game in the sixth inning.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr., scored a single and scored when Chapman threw a first-pitch fastball for his second homer of the year. Collins took Acevedo’s next offer deep for his first home run as a Blue Jay.

Oakland manager Mark Kotsay eventually retired Acevedo after giving up two more singles. Justin Grimm fanned Bradley Zimmer for damage control.

Toronto reliever Yimi Garcia survived a shaky eighth inning after walking Elvis Andrus and Jed Lowrie. A double steal was successful but Garcia knocked out Murphy and got pinched hitter Tony Kemp on a lineout.

Montoyo was ejected in the bottom half of the frame after arguing with plate umpire Jeff Nelson.

Ryu has struggled in both of his starts this season.

He allowed six earned runs in 3 1/3 innings in a 12-6 loss to Texas last weekend. The veteran southpaw went four innings this time, allowing five earned runs and six hits with one strikeout.

Blackburn’s line included two earned runs, five hits and three strikeouts in five innings. Announced attendance was 32,330 and the match lasted three hours and five minutes.

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