TORONTO -- In the minutes after the A's 5-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday, theories abounded about the link between the Rogers Centre's artificial turf and the Oakland errors that led to two unearned runs.

Starting pitcher Jesse Chavez (4-2), victimized twice by errors, wondered if five straight games on turf had left his team a little tired, while manager Bob Melvin thought the combination of the synthetic surface and bright sunshine -- the roof at the Rogers Centre was open for the first time this season -- caused the ball to bounce higher and less predictably in the field.

"I should have been a little more under control. I was just being too aggressive," said left fielder Craig Gentry, who made one of the A's two errors. "That's stupid on my part. I'll learn from it and move on."

Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Jesse Chavez works against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Saturday, May
Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Jesse Chavez works against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Saturday, May 24, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese) ( Darren Calabrese )

Either way, the A's squandered a solid outing from Chavez and lost their third straight game. Heading into Thursday, the A's had the best record in the major leagues, but Saturday's loss drops them 30-19. They still lead the American League West, but the Detroit Tigers have the A.L.'s best winning percentage.

For the second straight game, the team that leads the league in scoring (5.1 runs a game) struggled to generate offense against a Toronto pitcher.

Friday it was journeyman Liam Hendriks, and Saturday it was knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who limited the A's to five hits and two earned runs over 81/3 innings.


Advertisement

The 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner's biggest mistake came when he tried to sneak a second-inning fastball past designated hitter Yoenis Cespedes, who launched the pitch more than 400 feet to center field to put the A's ahead 1-0.

"Those are difficult days, especially when (Dickey) is on. It makes everybody a bit uncomfortable," Melvin said. "He's got a lot of movement and got a generous strike zone."

Dickey (5-4) isn't the only pitcher who has made the A's uncomfortable during this mini-slump. Oakland has scored a combined six runs during its three-game slide. In fact, the A's haven't scored more than three runs in a game since routing the Cleveland Indians 13-3 on Sunday.

Another problem has been defense. Heading into this weekend's series, Oakland's defense had committed 33 errors, but they had led to just nine unearned runs. On Saturday, the Blue Jays made the A's pay for the sloppy defensive play.

In the third inning, Anthony Gose raced from first to third on a Melky Cabrera single. But when Gentry bobbled the ball, Gose sprinted home to tie the game.

Toronto's Brett Lawrie broke the tie with a leadoff homer in the fifth. Then after singles by Gose and Jose Reyes, an error by A's first baseman Brandon Moss on Cabrera's routine grounder allowed both runners to score. That play gave the Blue Jays a 4-1 lead, too much for the A's struggling hitters to overcome.

"It was unfortunate miscues that led to the crooked number in the fifth inning," Chavez said. "Those things happen. It's baseball."

  • Melvin returned to the A's bench after spending Friday in New York to watch his daughter, Alexi, graduate from college.

  • Chavez's previous outing against Toronto didn't go well, either. Last July 31 he surrendered two hits, three walks and three runs in just a third of an inning.

  • Of the 11 unearned runs scored against the A's this season, five have come with Chavez pitching.

  • The A's haven't had a losing streak of more than three games since last season when they lost four in a row between May 6-10.

    SUNDAY'S GAME

    A's (Drew Pomeranz 4-1) at Toronto (J.A. Happ 3-1),
    10:07 a.m. CSNCA