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Toronto Blue Jays left to right, Ben Revere, Kevin Pillar, and Jose Bautista celebrate their series sweep of the Oakland Athletics after their MLB baseball game in Toronto, Thursday August 13, 2015.

Mark Blinch/The Globe and Mail

They are the castoffs, the unwanted, the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time players. And they are also all valuable members of an otherwise star-studded Blue Jays team that has become the toast of Toronto with a refuse-to-lose mentality.

Dioner Navarro, who was supplanted as the Blue Jays starting catcher by Russell Martin at the start of the season, got things going in the second inning on Thursday with a single to centre.

Justin Smoak, who arrived in Toronto from the Seattle Mariners via a waiver claim during the off-season, followed with another single off Oakland A's starter Jesse Chavez; that sent Navarro chugging into third.

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The next batter, centre-fielder Kevin Pillar – who only secured his job in the starting lineup following an injury to Michael Saunders during spring training – then stroked an opposite-field hit to right to score Toronto's first run.

Ryan Goins, a career backup infielder who has always been limited by a suspect bat, then walloped a Chavez cutter on a 1-2 count over the wall in right for a home run that tagged on three more runs.

The Blue Jays (64-52) won again on Thursday afternoon, their second-inning outburst enough to topple the A's 4-2 before a jammed-packed crowd at Rogers Centre.

With the victory, Toronto increased its win streak to a franchise-record-tying 11 games.

"It's going to end eventually," said Mark Buehrle, the ageless wonder of the Toronto pitching staff who earned his 13th win of the season. "Put me on record saying we're not going to win the rest of the games here on out."

And now it gets serious, really serious.

The New York Yankees, the team the Blue Jays have supplanted on top of the American League East with their fabulous run, are next up on the radar.

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The Yankees will play Toronto in the biggest series of the season beginning Friday night, the first of three sold-out affairs at Rogers Centre.

"No matter who we're playing, we're going out there to win," said Pillar. "Whether it's a first-place team, a last-place team, we know our goal that day is to win that game."

The day got off to a good start, from the Blue Jays perspective, about three hours before first pitch.

That is when word began to filter into the locker room that Sonny Gray, the ace of the Oakland staff with a 12-4 record and a 2.06 earned-run average, would be unable to start on Thursday with a wonky back.

Toronto manager John Gibbons provided David Price, the new Blue Jays pitcher, with the news when Price chanced to stick his head inside the manager's office. Price then entered the Toronto clubhouse and trumpeted the information like a town crier to those teammates who had already arrived and were starting their game-time preparations.

Chavez, a former Blue Jay, was pressed into service.

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With a 6-11 record and a 3.73 ERA, Chavez is not Gray, and the Blue Jays knew their chances for a third straight series sweep had risen dramatically.

Toronto's good fortune then continued into the game.

Against Buehrle, who was starting after an additional day of rest, Oakland loaded the bases in the first inning with none out, and then, in the second inning, placed runners at second and third with one out.

And when Oakland failed to score on either occasion, the Blue Jays knew the baseball gods were smiling favourably on them once again.

In the first inning, former Blue Jay Danny Valencia hit a grounder straight back to Buehrle with the bases loaded. Buehrle threw to the plate to get the force at home and then Navarro made the relay to first to complete a huge double play.

Josh Phegley, the next Oakland batter, then hit a grounder that deflected off Buehrle but went straight to Cliff Pennington at second base on a fortuitous bounce. Pennington was able to make the out at first to kill the uprising.

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In the second inning, Buehrle allowed one-out singles to Josh Reddick and Coco Crisp to give Oakland hope once again. But a Buehrle strikeout of Marcus Semien followed by a Billy Burns fly out once again left the A's gaping at their early misfortune.

"You're going to get in jams over the course of a game, you just got to try to pitch out of them," Buehrle said. "For me, bases loaded, nobody out, it's usually a guarantee of at least a run or two because I don't strike guys out. But I threw a curveball to Valencia and he luckily grounded back to me."

Buehrle, despite complaining of general stiffness after his last outing, pitched seven-plus innings to earn his fourth straight decision and improve to 13-5.

With the score 4-2, Buehrle turned it over to the bullpen, and Robert Osuna recorded his 12th consecutive save.

It was a satisfying victory for the Blue Jays, who played once again without slugger Edwin Encarnacion, who missed his fourth straight game with a sore finger on his left hand.

Gibbons also opted to rest shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and Martin, the No. 1 catcher.

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As it turn ed out, they were not needed as once again the lower half of the Toronto batting order carried the day.

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