|A's will try to break through vs. Blue Jays|
TORONTO -- The Oakland Athletics will be trying to end the Toronto Blue Jays' recent dominance over them at the Rogers Centre on Thursday night when the teams open a four-game series.
The Blue Jays are 12-1 against the Athletics in Toronto over the past four season, including a 4-0 sweep July 24-27 last year.
The Blue Jays (22-21) would like to keep the trend going, however, because after a 14-8 beginning to the season, they have struggled at 8-13 since despite a 12-1 victory over the New York Mets on Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field.
The Athletics (21-22) overcame a slow start and are 16-12 dating to April 15 after losing 6-4 to the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night.
Right-hander Andrew Triggs (3-1, 5.31 ERA) will start for Oakland on Thursday against Toronto right-hander Aaron Sanchez (2-3, 4.08).
The Blue Jays, who gained a split in the two-game series with the Mets, have lost their past four home series, something they hope to correct in a seven-game homestand that opens Thursday.
The Athletics are coming off a 2-1 series win over the Red Sox and are 3-3 on a 10-game road trip that concludes in Toronto.
Oakland will be without catcher Bruce Maxwell, who will be on the restricted list for the series. Catcher Josh Phegley was recalled for the series from Triple-A Nashville, where he is hitting .224/.320/.412 with three homers and 14 RBIs in 25 games.
Maxwell is ineligible to enter Canada because he has yet to be sentenced for an incident last fall in which a gun was allegedly waved at a fast-food delivery person in Scottsdale, Ariz. Maxwell is scheduled to be sentenced June 4.
The Blue Jays, meanwhile, recalled right-hander Danny Barnes before the game Wednesday and optioned right-hander Deck McGuire to Triple-A Buffalo.
Barnes was optioned to Buffalo on May 3. He pitched two hitless innings with no walks in two appearances with Buffalo. He allowed two hits and one run in one inning on Wednesday.
"We wanted to give him a little breather because he had been pitching a lot," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He has been a big part of the bullpen for the last couple of years. ... It will be good to get him back, especially with (Roberto) Osuna (on administrative leave). He can pitch some late innings too for you."
McGuire, a former Blue Jays' first-round draft pick, will probably return to Toronto eventually after allowing three runs over 3 1/3 innings Tuesday night in the 12-2 loss to the Mets.
McGuire was 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA for Buffalo before his promotion Sunday.
"I think he looked great," Gibbons said. "I think it's a great story, he was an original pick for us and things didn't work out well. But I saw a different guy. I saw a very confident guy in spring training. I don't think he gave up a run all spring, and I think he's just starting to figure things out. I don't see why there can't be a role for him somewhere."
The Athletics also made a pitching move Wednesday with Trevor Cahill reinstated from the disabled list to start against the Red Sox in the series finale.
It meant that former Blue Jay Kendall Graveman, recalled Friday after a two-game stint at Nashville, was returned to the minors. Graveman allowed four runs (one earned), three hits and two walks with four strikeouts in six innings to earn his first win of the season Friday against the New York Yankees. He would have started Wednesday in Boston if Cahill had not been ready to return.
"At this point in the season we're trying to keep as many options as we can as far as starters go," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. "There probably will be some injuries as the season goes along. You look at most teams now and they're trying to create as much depth as they can, especially in the starting rotation. (Graveman) pitched well in New York and we certainly feel like he's still a big part of this team. No doubt he will be back at some point in time. For the interim, that's the move we made."
Cahill, who had been out with a right elbow impingement, allowed three runs, five hits and one walk in five innings to take the loss Wednesday.
"You're hoping you have a starting pitcher, especially after a short spring, who is able to give you five innings," Melvin said. "He's been able to do more than that. He's done more than we actually thought. Getting him back in a short period of time works better for him than trying string it out too long."
Triggs will make his ninth start of the season. He was 1-0 with a 2.87 ERA over his first three starts but is 2-1 despite a 6.94 ERA in five starts since. He has faced the Blue Jays once in his career and it came in relief July 17, 2016, at Oakland in a 5-3 loss. He allowed one run, two hits and struck out one in one inning.
Sanchez, who will be starting for the ninth time this season, is 0-1 with an 8.53 ERA in three career games (one start) against Oakland.