Matt Chapman hit a home run for the Athletics

Francisco Liriano s night started ominously with back to back walks to open the first inning. Luckily for the Blue Jays, he turned things around just as quickly. Working on three day s rest, the veteran left hander shook off two straight rough starts to earn his first win since the all star break as Toronto snapped a three game slide with a 4 2 victory over the lowly Oakland Athletics on Monday. Liriano walked Rajai Davis and Marcus Semien to open the game before Russell Martin caught Davis stealing at third base for the first — but significant — out. A run scored on a Ryon Healy single but Liriano escaped further damage with a strikeout and groundout. He walks the first two batters of the game, you don t know what to expect, said manager John Gibbons. But then Russ throwing down Raj there at third base was huge, no doubt about that. And he settled in, gave us what we needed. I was a little worried, he was going on short rest, but he did his job and set it up for the rest of the bullpen. I felt great Liriano 6 5 allowed two runs on two hits — Oakland s only hits of the game — while walking two and striking out five over five innings to help raise Toronto s disappointing record to 45 54. Back from two short starts in a row, including a 1 2/3 innings outing on Thursday in Boston, Liriano threw 86 pitches, 51 for strikes. I felt great, I could have gone even further in the game, Liriano said through a translator. My last outing was really short so my body felt great. I tried to get ahead, just locating my fastball and it went well after that, he added. My fastball was moving a lot Fernando Rodriguez Jersey, both sides of the plate but mostly inside to righties. Russ and I worked a lot in there. It worked out pretty good. Martin hit a solo homer to spark Toronto s offence, while Ryan Goins, Ezequiel Carrera and Justin Smoak also drove in runs for the Blue Jays. Joe Biagini followed Liriano with two scoreless innings out of the bullpen, Ryan Tepera worked a perfect eighth and Roberto Osuna struck out the side in the ninth for his 25th save of the season. Those guys can all do that, Gibbons said of his bullpen s ability to hold down the fort in a tight game. Naturally we ve got Osuna at the end and Tepera has been dominating. ... We feel good, those guys have done a good job. It s a strong bullpen. Matt Chapman hit a home run for the Athletics 44 55 while Chris Smith 0 1 went six innings, allowing three runs on six hits. Both teams, last in their respective divisions, opened the four game series 10 games below .500. That fact didn t tarnish the victory one bit for Gibbons, though. That doesn t matter, it s still the big leagues, he said. Liriano can dominate Toronto replied to Healy s RBI single in the first inning with Martin s solo homer in the bottom of the frame to tie the game. The Jays then cashed in two runs in the fourth, the first on a one out Carrera single and the second on a two out base hit from Goins, both with the bases loaded. Chapman s solo home run cut the lead to 3 2 in the next inning. The homer, a no doubter to deep centre field with one out, snapped a streak of 12 straight retired batters for Liriano that started in the first inning. When he gets going he gets in that groove, I mean he can dominate you, Gibbons said of Liriano. His stuff s that good. It s just a matter of if he can keep it in the zone, he s going to beat you. Toronto doubled its lead to 4 2 in the seventh when reliever Josh Smith walked Smoak with the bases loaded. Canadian John Axford had started the inning for Oakland but was replaced after he loaded the bases with nobody out. The Blue Jays had a solid chance to tack on some insurance in the sixth but failed to execute on a rogue squeeze play. Smith snagged a bunt from Kevin Pillar and fired it to catcher Josh Phegley, beating a running Steve Pearce to the plate by a mile. Gibbons said the play didn t come from the bench. I don t know what happened there, he said. He was just bunting on his own.