OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Hits have been hard to come by lately for Brett Lawrie and the slumping Toronto Blue Jays.
Josh Reddick hit a two-run homer to back another strong outing by Bartolo Colon, and the Oakland Athletics beat Toronto 4-1 on Thursday night.
The Blue Jays have lost five straight, matching their season high. Toronto was limited to one run for the third time during the skid.
``We have to try and piece things together,' said Lawrie, who is 3 for 17 on the winless road trip. ``We're having trouble getting a few hits in a row.'
Colon (8-8) scattered seven hits over eight innings, extending his scoreless streak to 16 1-3. The 39-year-old right-hander has not allowed a run since the fourth inning against the New York Yankees on July 22.
Colby Rasmus, Edwin Encarnacion and Yunel Escobar had two hits apiece for Toronto, which has been without slugger Jose Bautista since he went on the disabled list with a left wrist injury on July 17.
``It's difficult to string many hits together right now,' manager John Farrell said. ``Runs are at a premium. We haven't been working the pitch count up and we've expanded the strike zone somewhat and we get behind in the count.'
The Blue Jays put their leadoff hitter on twice all game, scoring their only run in the ninth following David Cooper's double, Rajai Davis' infield single and Moises Sierra's RBI groundout.
``When there are so many innings without putting the leadoff hitter on, it limits our ability to manufacture runs,' Farrell said. ``We have to find a way to score.'
The A's missed an opportunity to add on when Davis misplayed Coco Crisp's fly ball to left. Davis appeared to lose the ball in the lights as it sailed past his glove and rolled to the fence.
Crisp, who slowed to a trot on his way to first, raced to third but was stranded there after Brandon Moss grounded out with the bases loaded.
Colon retired 15 of 18 during one stretch and pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth by getting Davis to ground out. Colon had three strikeouts and one walk.
Henderson Alvarez (7-8) struggled with his control and lost for the second time in six decisions. He had a season-high five walks, pitched with runners on base in all but one of his five-plus innings, and struck out one.
``He didn't have quite the same stuff he had five days ago,' Farrell said. ``He did keep the damage to a minimum.'
Four of Toronto's 10 hits didn't leave the infield.
Brandon Inge and Seth Smith also drove in runs for the A's, who improved to 14-5 since the All-Star break.
Oakland, held to no more than one run in three of its previous four games, moved past the Los Angeles Angels into second place in the AL West. The A's are 4 1/2 games behind Texas.
Eric Sogard singled leading off the third, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Smith's single to right.
Reddick followed with his 23rd home run, a towering shot into the bleachers above the right-field scoreboard to give Oakland a 3-0 lead.
``(Colon) has done great all year and we haven't gotten him the run support that he deserves, so for me to be able to do that was huge,' said Reddick, who was mired in a career-worst 0-for-21 slump before singling in the first. ``I went home last night and had a long talk with (my) dad, and it seemed to work out.'
The A's made it 4-0 in the seventh when Inge singled home Chris Carter to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
NOTES: LHP Brett Cecil (2-4) pitches for Toronto on Friday against rookie RHP Dan Straily, who will be making his first major league start for the A's. Straily has more strikeouts (175) than any other pitcher in professional baseball, including major league leader Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals. ... The Blue Jays are 10-16 against the AL West. ... Encarnacion ended an 0-for-13 streak with a sixth-inning single.
The Associated Press News Service
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