OAKLAND -- The A's could not summon more of their walk-off magic Saturday, but they have a bigger issue on their hands.
Rookie closer Ryan Cook surrendered a ninth-inning, tying home run for the second straight day, and the A's fell 3-1 in 11 innings to the Toronto Blue Jays in front of 17,121 fans at the Oakland Coliseum.
For all of their thrilling finishes and pie-in-the-face shenanigans, the A's can't afford to keep coughing up late leads. Cook has an American League-high seven blown saves, with four coming in his past six outings.
Cook's story is well-documented, from his rise to the closer's job to his selection to the All-Star game. But the A's are entrusting the ninth inning to a young pitcher who didn't start relieving until last season, and it's proving to be a high-risk proposition.
"We're talking about a young kid who hasn't been in this role before and really hasn't relieved too long," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "There's going to be some times when you're going to struggle some. He's got to fight his way through it."
A sparkling group effort from the bullpen had Oakland in position to win after starter A.J. Griffin exited in the second inning because of tightness in his throwing shoulder.
The right-hander had an MRI exam that showed no structural damage; his status for his next start is unknown.
"I felt fine in the bullpen, but I went out in the first inning, and it kind of started grabbing at me in my
Jordan Norberto, Pat Neshek and Grant Balfour combined for 61/3 scoreless innings to protect a 1-0 lead.
Cook retired Edwin Encarnacion to lead off the ninth but missed location on a 1-1 changeup to cleanup hitter David Cooper, a former Cal star who drilled a homer to right-center to make it 1-1.
On Friday, the A's led 4-1 and Cook had two outs in the ninth when he allowed Jeff Mathis' three-run shot on a 3-2 pitch.
Cook, 25, was asked if it's a challenge to rebound after giving up a costly homer the day before.
"If you're asking if (Friday) night had anything to do with today, zero percent," he said. "I made a bad pitch, and I paid for it."
The Blue Jays took the lead in the 11th on a defensive miscue. Encarnacion attempted to steal third, and A's catcher George Kottaras delivered a throw that was on the foul side of third base but was very catchable. Brandon Inge missed the throw while trying to make a swipe tag before he had the ball, and it sailed into left field to allow Encarnacion to score.
Moises Sierra added an RBI double to pad the lead.
The A's hadn't lost an extra-inning game since May 23.
Cook was pitching for the third straight day, and he came into Saturday having allowed 11 runs in 81/3 innings in 10 games when he was pitching with no rest. With one or more days' rest, he had surrendered just one run in 38 innings.
"If you're the closer, you're going to come in games that you're ahead," Melvin said. "You can't just pick your spots and say, 'As the closer you're only going to pitch every other day.' "
Who else can the A's turn to in the ninth? Balfour has pitched well of late but has struggled in closing situations. Sean Doolittle has the stuff to be a future closer but is inexperienced. The A's might look for veteran late-inning help in a waiver trade.
Brett Anderson (elbow surgery) will make his third rehab start Sunday against Nashville.
"He asked me what I thought about it," teammate Jonny Gomes said. "I told him if you want to, go ahead. He was like a kid in a candy store the way he lit up. ... I'm not going to be a dream-crusher."
The costume is in reference to the Spider-Man-like catch Reddick made in Toronto on that trip, where he jumped on the right-field fence, clung to it and caught Travis Snider's drive.
"I was up in the strike zone, my curveball wasn't there," he said. "I was basically pitching with a fastball and changeup."