Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Kendrys Morales, right, is congratulated by teammates Justin Smoak, left to right, Kevin Pillar and Ezequiel Carrera after hitting a walk-off solo home run during ninth inning American League MLB baseball against the Oakland Athletics in Toronto on Wednesday. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Smoak, Morales go deep in ninth inning as Blue Jays walkoff Athletics

Blue Jays 3 Athletics 2

TORONTO — If Wednesday night’s start was Marco Estrada’s last in a Blue Jays uniform, he wasn’t happy with the way he performed.

The pending free agent, who could be moved before next Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline, pitched five full innings for the first time since June 24, and allowed only two runs and three hits while striking out four in Toronto’s eventual 3-2 walkoff win over the Oakland Athletics.

But Estrada also walked four batters for the sixth time in his last seven outings, and failed to earn a win for a 10th straight start.

And he had no interest in sugar coating any of that.

“I need to get better with everything,” a sullen Estrada said after a celebratory Drake song had been turned off in an otherwise happy Toronto clubhouse. “I need to locate better. … I think I walked four guys again and this isn’t like me. It’s frustrating. But we won and that’s all that matters.

“Believe it or not I’m pretty excited we won.”

Justin Smoak tied the game with a two-run homer to the second deck in the ninth, and Kendrys Morales followed with a solo shot that just cleared the right-field wall as the Blue Jays rallied for their third straight victory.

Josh Donaldson started the rally with a leadoff walk off Santiago Casilla (2-5), who then allowed the back-to-back homers, spoiling a stellar start from Oakland’s rookie right-hander Paul Blackburn.

It was the sixth time this season the Blue Jays (47-54) had hit back-to-back homers. They can sweep the four-game series with a victory Thursday afternoon.

Morales said his home-run pitch from Casilla was a fastball right down the middle.

“I wasn’t too sure (it would make it over the wall),” Morales said. “I was just trying to put the ball in the air and put a good swing on it. He made a little mistake and it went out.

“I wanted to get a good pitch and congrats, I got it.”

Marcus Semien homered for the Athletics (44-57).

Blackburn, in just his fifth major league start, allowed two hits, walked three and struck out three over a clinical 98-pitch no-decision.

Toronto didn’t get its second hit off Blackburn until the sixth inning — a two-out double from Donaldson on the rookie’s 82nd pitch of the game. The double was met with loud, enthusiastic cheers from the 41,984 in attendance, but the crowd quieted considerably as Smoak lined out to shortstop to end the inning.

Estrada looked to have run into trouble early, walking back-to-back batters with one out in the first inning and allowing a two-out single to load the bases. He got out of the jam with a Ryon Healy pop up, then retired seven straight batters before a one-out double to Yonder Alonso in the fourth.

The game turned for Estrada in the fifth as he walked Matt Joyce before allowing Semien’s two-run homer to left-field for a 2-0 Oakland lead. He walked the next batter, then got a strikeout to end the inning and his night.

“It was very big, both for himself and for the team,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said of Estrada’s start. “He gave up that two-run homer and we were down, but he’s got to be able to take something from that, I would hope.

“He’s probably still a little frustrated but we saw some good things and he got to five (innings), that’s been kind of his tough inning for a while now.”

Estrada, who was wearing the personalized Blue Jays robe given to him two seasons ago by former teammate David Price before speaking to the media after the game, said he’s not paying attention to any trade rumours as the deadline looms.

“I don’t think about it,” he said. “If it happens it happens.”

Smoak said Estrada has been instrumental to the team over the last three seasons.

Just Posted

Red Deer man says more cardiac care needed here

Ryan Gillies spent several extra days in hospital waiting to get a stent in Edmonton

Red Deer gets ready for CFR 45

A $20 to $25-million annual injection to the local economy

Former Red Deer teacher going to trial on child porn charges

Charges were laid in January 2017 after a woman came forward

Red Deer agency reports more than 1,000 lives saved with naloxone

Turning Point distributes 5,855 naloxone kits

WATCH: Ponoka residents enjoy first skate on ice path

A community initiative helped create a skate path for families in Ponoka.

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Central Albertans recall Hawaii’s false missile alert

Former Red Deer councillor Paul Harris was hanging out at the Ka’anapali… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month