OAKLAND, Calif. — Back when he played here, Josh Donaldson watched many a hard-hit ball get halted by the wind at the Oakland Coliseum short of going over the outfield fences.
So he didn’t want to count on his 10th-inning drive going far enough.
It had plenty on it, and it still feels plenty sweet to make an impact where he began his big league career in 2010 — even in a different uniform.
Donaldson hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the 10th against his former club, Justin Smoak also homered in the inning for his second long ball of the day, and the Toronto Blue Jays avoided a sweep by beating the Athletics 7-5 on Wednesday.
“Any home run’s nice. The fact of the matter the situation it was in to be able to come through for my team like that, with the circumstances, I was able to do that a few times when I played here, too,” Donaldson said. “It was nice to kind of be able to come back and hit one in a timely situation.”
Frankie Montas (1-1) plunked Kevin Pillar to start the inning and bring up Donaldson, who clobbered a 1-2 fastball and hit a high drive clearing the wall in left-centre.
Liam Hendriks tossed two perfect innings over the eighth and ninth with three strikeouts for the A’s, but Montas couldn’t hold down Donaldson. After drawing three walks, the 2015 AL MVP hit his seventh homer of the year as he plays catch up after missing time with a calf injury.
“I hit it pretty well,” Donaldson said. “I didn’t know because how high that I hit the ball, I’ve hit many balls in this stadium that were like that and kind of got knocked down by the wind and the air.”
A’s manager Bob Melvin sent the third baseman out of town with the skipper’s bobblehead doll as a parting gift.
Ryan Tepera (4-1) pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the win, while Roberto Osuna finished for his 14th save.
Pillar hit a three-run homer in the second after Smoak’s solo shot earlier in the inning.
Chad Pinder’s sacrifice fly in the fifth following a leadoff triple by Rajai Davis tied the game at 4. Davis also doubled twice and matched his career high with four hits, doing it for the 10th time and first since last July 2 at Toronto while with Cleveland.
“I’m just hoping that that’s the beginning of something that will continue,” he said.
Smoak homered three times in the series to bring his season total to 17, also leading off the second Wednesday against A’s right-hander Jharel Cotton. That came after Oakland went ahead in the bottom of the first on Khris Davis’ RBI double.
Cotton made his first career start against Toronto but is still waiting for his first win since being recalled from the minors on May 27. He allowed four runs and four hits in six innings, struck out four and walked four.
Trevor Plouffe’s leadoff homer in the fourth for Oakland snapped a career-worst 0-for-25 hitting slump — a fourth homer in eight lifetime at-bats facing Toronto starter Francisco Liriano.
The Blue Jays lefty struck out five and walked one in five innings, allowing three earned runs and six hits.
Blue Jays: C Russell Martin was back in the starting lineup after sitting out Tuesday night. He had returned Monday after missing four straight games with a stiff neck.
Athletics: SS Marcus Semien, who had right wrist surgery April 18, swung his own bat for the first time two days after hitting off a tee with a fungo. He plans to hit and throw every other day for now and likely hit live batting practice when the team returns from its upcoming six-game trip. “I’ll have a better idea how I’m feeling,” he said. … LHP Sean Doolittle, who was set to pitch an inning for Triple-A Nashville on Wednesday, could rejoin the team this weekend. … 1B Yonder Alonso had the day off, a precaution to give him two days’ rest with a day off Thursday given he has had a tender wrist. … Matt Joyce missed his second straight start in RF because of a strained left quadriceps but entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.
Blue Jays: RHP Joe Biagini (1-4, 3.31 ERA) pitches at Seattle on Friday trying to end a stretch of three straight losing decisions, including his last two starts.
Athletics: Following Thursday’s day off, RHP Andrew Triggs (5-5, 3.36) starts at Tampa Bay on Friday night looking to snap a three-start skid. The A’s have a traditional doubleheader Saturday.