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Blue Jays 2, Athletics 1

Blue Jays 2, Athletics 1
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Alex Rios came up big for the Blue Jays with his bat and his glove.

Rios followed a great catch in the sixth by hitting a tiebreaking RBI double in the ninth that helped secure the win for Roy Halladay, and Toronto beat the Oakland Athletics for the first time in five tries this season with a 2-1 victory Wednesday night.

Rios made the catch against the wall in center field on a hard-hit ball by Mark Ellis.

"The ball, here, at night, just hangs up there," he said. "I thought I had a good chance to get there. I'm going to go hard to every ball. It just went down into my glove. I was pretty close to the fence - not close enough to worry, but close enough to think about the wall."

Halladay certainly appreciated the defensive effort.

"It was a game-changer," he said. "When you're not hitting spots like you want, it's nice to get those kind of plays behind you."

Halladay (6-5) outshined Rich Harden in an impressive pitcher's duel between two of the American League's top right-handers, winning his third straight decision.

After seeing three fastballs, Rios lined a 1-2 change-up for a one-out single down the left-field line off loser Keith Foulke (0-1) and the A's had their season-high tying five-game winning streak snapped. Foulke's last loss came April 21, 2006, at Toronto.

His catch had plenty of people talking afterward, too.

"I didn't think he was going to catch it," A's manager Bob Geren said. "I thought it was going over his head."

Halladay matched his season high with nine strikeouts, and he allowed eight hits and one run and walked one in eight strong innings. B.J. Ryan worked the ninth for his 12th save in as many tries.

Halladay, coming off his AL-leading fifth complete game of the year in his previous start, went 20 innings between walks - from the second inning May 9 to the second inning Wednesday. He has one walk in his last 27 innings.

The A's are the only AL team against whom Halladay hasn't pitched a complete game.

"Tonight was kind of a struggle," he said. "It seemed like I pitched myself into trouble and had to work my way out of it. It was one of those games where I'd get behind guys 2-0, 3-0, and that's something I try to avoid - pitching in hitter's counts. You have to grind through it."

Bobby Crosby got a two-out double in the third and Jack Cust then singled him home for Oakland's lone run. That tied the game at 1 after Shannon Stewart singled in a run in the top half for Toronto against his former team.

Cust was 0-for-15 against Toronto this year before going 3-for-4 Wednesday.

After Stewart's single, Harden retired nine of the next 10 batters he faced before Rios reached on an error in the sixth - and Harden retired 12 of his final 14 hitters.

"It was a tough one today," Harden said. "I felt decent but I really wanted to go a little deeper. Overall I felt really strong."

The Blue Jays saved a run in the sixth when first baseman Lyle Overbay threw out Cust at the plate and catcher Rod Barajas did a good job blocking the plate.

Harden gave way to Chad Gaudin after seven innings and 104 pitches with the game tied. He had won his previous two starts and pitched well enough in this one. The hard-throwing Harden made his fourth start since coming back from a disabled list stint with a shoulder injury, allowing five hits and one run with five strikeouts and no walks. Harden didn't surrender a walk for the first time this season.

Oakland designated hitter Frank Thomas underwent an MRI exam on his tender right knee and quadriceps muscle, and could be headed for the disabled list. He came out of Tuesday's game after stretching out a double in the third inning on his 40th birthday.

"The MRI looks pretty bad," Thomas said. "When you're messing with a tendon that big with my age, it could rupture and that would take a long time. We've got plenty of time right now. They want to rest it and get the swelling out."

Mike Sweeney started in his place, going 0-for-4.

As planned, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons rested shortstop David Eckstein a day after he came off the disabled list from a hip flexor injury. Eckstein is scheduled to play Thursday afternoon's series finale and probably again Friday in Anaheim when he faces his former club.

A's outfielder Ryan Sweeney left the game after fouling a ball off his left foot and was having X-rays.

Notes: Toronto's Scott Rolen went 0-for-4 to have his eight-game hitting streak snapped. ... Eric Chavez, Oakland's six-time Gold Glove winning 3B recovering from offseason back surgery, was slated to play nine innings at third for Triple-A Sacramento after working as DH on Tuesday. He is scheduled to DH again Thursday, have a day off Friday, DH again Saturday then start at 3B and play nine innings June 1-3. He could come off the DL after that. ... ... A's RHP reliever Santiago Casilla, on the DL with inflammation in his throwing elbow, traveled to Birmingham, Ala., to be examined by Dr. James Andrews and the pitcher has been cleared to begin throwing off the mound soon, perhaps even this weekend.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 29, 2008

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