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Bleday’s homer in the ninth gives A’s a win against Jays before biggest crowd of the season


OAKLAND — J.J. Bleday hit the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the ninth inning for a home run as the Athletics beat the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 before the largest Coliseum crowd of the season.

Bleday’s blast came against Chad Green (1-1) and went into the right field bleachers that were adorned with “Sell” signs on a scaled-back reverse boycott night that also included a postgame fireworks show.

Scott Alexander pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and Mason Miller (1-0) retired the side in the ninth with a pair of strikeouts.

The home run was Bleday’s ninth of the season.

The A’s improved to 26-39, with Toronto falling to 30-32.

The game was played in two hours and seven minutes in what was an efficient pitcher’s duel between former A’s right-hander Chris Bassitt and A’s left-hander Hogan Harris.

Austin Adams, who came on for Harris in the seventh, gave up one run on a single to Bo Bichette to tie the score 1-1. The hit brought in Vladimir Guerrero, who led off the inning with a twisting drive to right that Seth Brown couldn’t come up with in the corner against the fence.

The Athletics broke through or the game’s first run in the sixth against Bassitt, with Max Schuemann scoring on a wild pitch.

Schuemann led off the inning with a single, just the second hit of the game for the A’s, with Abraham Toro following with another single and sending Schuemann to third. After Miguel Andujar struck out, Bassitt threw an exploding breaking ball in the dirt that Alejandro Kirk couldn’t handle, with Schuemann coming in to score. After J.J. Bleday grounded out, Toro was stranded at third when Brent Rooker popped to second.

Bassitt, who basically learned to pitch with the A’s, came in with a 2.39 earned run average at the Coliseum and gave up just one earned run Friday night. He pitched eight innings, giving up four hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Harris, 27, seems to save his best performances for nights when A’s fans show up to protest ownership’s decision to move the franchise to Sacramento and Las Vegas.

Harris matched Bassitt and shut out Toronto for six innings, giving up three hits with two walks and three strikeouts. His night was punctuated with a strikeout of Justin Turner to end the sixth, slamming a palm into his glove as he went into the dugout. He threw 91 pitches with 55 strikes.

The previous best game by Harris came in last year’s “reverse boycott” game against Tampa Bay on June 13. In that game, Harris took over in the second for opener Shintaro Fujinami and gave up four hits and one earned run in seven innings in picking up the win before a crowd of 27,759.

Erceg getting closer

Relief pitcher Lucas Erceg (right forearm strain) had an encouraging bullpen session and looks to be the closest to returning of the nine current A’s on the injured list.

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