The Toronto Blue Jays still aren’t scoring much on the road, and an overall three-week funk has dropped the former division leaders 1 1-2 games out of first place in the AL East.
Even normally reliable Mark Buehrle is struggling, not having won a start since June 1.
That isn’t even the worst news for manager John Gibbons’ ballclub.
Edwin Encarnacion had to leave the game after hearing “a pop” in his right leg while legging out an infield grounder in the first inning of the Blue Jays’ 5-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night.
The Toronto slugger, who went into the night tied for second in the majors with 26 home runs, will undergo an MRI in the next day or two.
“I wouldn’t guess it’d be a quick thing,” Gibbons said. “He said he felt something pop in his quad. That’s all I know right now. I’d be very surprised if he went on the DL but I don’t know that for sure yet.”
As tough as losing their top offensive threat was, the Blue Jays seemed even more irked about a play in the eighth inning that they felt should have been overturned by replay.
With Oakland leading 3-1, Melky Cabrera was thrown out trying to score from first base on a double to left by Jose Bautista. Oakland left fielder Craig Gentry retrieved the ball and shortstop Jed Lowrie made a strong relay throw home to catcher Derek Norris, who appeared to tag a sliding Cabrera on the back.
Home plate umpire Bill Miller called Cabrera out, and after a brief review, the call was upheld.
“He missed him by a good foot or two,” Bautista said. “I don’t really know which replay they were looking (at) but clearly they must have had a different video feed than the one we had. This whole replay thing has become a joke in my eyes. I think they should just ban it. They should just get rid of it.”
Bautista vented his anger over the call for nearly five minutes, almost entirely unprompted.
“I don’t know what kind of agenda the people that are doing the replays are on, what their plan is ... but obviously getting the right call on the field is not what they’re doing. I don’t see the point in having this replay system that doesn’t work,” he said.
Gibbons tempered his frustration over the call.
“The bottom line is we played a crappy game tonight,” he said. “There’s no way around that.”
Encarnacion drove in Toronto’s only run in the first inning before getting hurt. He beat out a possible double play ball, allowing Jose Reyes to score. Encarnacion stepped on the first base bag, limped for a few steps and then tumbled to the ground.
Buehrle (10-6) gave up three runs and 10 hits over six innings. Buehrle walked one and struck out three. He had a four-game winning streak against the A’s end.
Josh Donaldson hit a home run and Scott Kazmir (10-3) won for the fifth time in his last six decisions. He walked two and struck out eight, improving to 6-1 in eight home starts.
Kazmir retired 20 of 23 hitters after giving up singles to Reyes and Cabrera to start the game.
NOTES: The Blue Jays claimed OF Cole Gillespie off waivers from Seattle. He’s expected to start Sunday. ... Bautista is expected to play in right field on Sunday after getting a couple days as DH to help him rest a sore hamstring. ... Blue Jays IF Steve Tolleson was held out of the starting lineup with a twisted ankle. ... RHP Drew Hutchinson (6-6, 3.81) will start Sunday’s series finale for the Blue Jays. Hutchinson struck out a season-high 10 in his last start, a 4-1 victory over Milwaukee. ... Newly acquired Jeff Samardzija will make his Oakland debut in the series finale.