A's ride improving offense to second straight win over Jays

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Before coming home for the Fourth of July holiday, the Athletics scored five total runs in their last three games of the road trip in Seattle.

Since coming home to the Coliseum, the A's offense in two games has looked more like the fireworks they set off after Monday's game.

For the second straight night, the A's offense scored five runs in a win over the Toronto Blue Jays. On Tuesday, they won by a score of 5-3 at the Coliseum.

"The last two nights, the offense, it's obviously improving and we talk a lot about it," A's manager Mark Kotsay told reporters after the game. "We take it back a week, maybe 10 days. There's been games where we've been shut down. The Robbie Ray game [against Seattle] stands out, that we got shut down as an offense but he threw a heck of a game. I think we're continuing to take good at-bats. As you talked about, the walks tonight, even though their starter couldn't command the baseball, we still allowed him to walk us. At one point, I think we had four walks in the first eight hitters. So that's a good positive sign. And then the offense scoring another five runs gives us a chance to win. We added on a little bit with that [Stephen] Piscotty home run, which helps. All in all, I think it was a good night."

The A's got a lot of help from Blue Jays starter Yusei Kikuchi, who walked five batters in 2 1/3 innings Tuesday night. He now leads MLB with 41 free passes this season.

In the bottom of the first, Kikuchi walked Nick Allen and Ramón Laureano to begin the game. Christian Bethancourt made him pay with an RBI single. Sean Murphy grounded into a double play to bring home Laureano. Both players who walked came around to score.

The A's were ready for Kikuchi's wild tendencies.

"You've got to take a little bit of a different approach," Piscotty told NBC Sports California after the win. "A lot of us want to go up there and be aggressive but when he's all over the zone, you really got to keyhole him and kind of let him make some mistakes. We were able to get a lot of walks early and when you get guys on base, good things are going to happen."

While the A's manufactured their first four runs of the game, it was Piscotty who delivered a solo homer in the bottom of the fifth that sealed the win for Oakland.

"Yeah, I was just trying to, keep saying it, stay aggressive," Piscotty said. "He was spinning a lot of sliders at me. I was able to take a few to get to 3-2 and knew he had to make a pitch and tried to be ready for it."

Since coming off the IL during the road trip last week, Piscotty had yet to homer in five previous games. Not only did the Pleasanton native go deep Tuesday, but he made a great sliding catch in right field, catching the attention of Kotsay.

"That's Stephen," Kotsay said. "He didn't look good on the first two swings and then [Blue Jays reliever Tyler Thornton] makes a mistake and he hits a home run to left and adds on for us, a big run at that point in the game. The play he made earlier in the game, the diving play down the line, we've seen him make that play a ton and so, good to see him out there, good to see him healthy and contributing to this team's success."

The A's don't have any sluggers in their lineup but they have several solid hitters who can get hot at any given time. So far, through the first two games of the homestand, they are building confidence with the bat in their hands.

Piscotty and the A's will go for the sweep of the Blue Jays on Wednesday with first pitch scheduled for 12:37 p.m. PT.

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