- Associated Press - Friday, July 4, 2014

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons used a clever replay challenge to help his ballclub score a run off Oakland Athletics starter Sonny Gray.

Good thing, too, because it was the only run the Blue Jays managed.

Gray allowed four hits over seven innings to offset a second straight strong outing by R.A. Dickey, and Oakland beat Toronto 4-1 on Thursday night.

Dickey, who beat the A’s on May 24, when he allowed two runs over 8 1-3 innings in his best outing of the season, allowed two earned runs over eight innings but lost his fourth straight start. The knuckleballer struck out six and walked three.

“He pitched a great game. We just didn’t get anything going offensively,” Gibbons said. “They outplayed us, pure and simple.”

The loss drops the Blue Jays into a first-place tie with Baltimore in the AL East. It’s the first time since May 21 that Toronto has not held sole possession of the top spot in the division.

The Blue Jays were nearly shut out in the first stop on their 10-game road trip. They hit into three double plays and didn’t get a runner past first base after the third.

Toronto’s only run came when Gibbons challenged a call in the second inning to have his own runner ruled out.

After the Blue Jays loaded the bases against Gray with one out, Anthony Gose hit a grounder to Oakland first baseman Nate Freiman. Freiman appeared to tag Munenori Kawasaki as he ran for second base, but umpire Vic Carapazza ruled Freiman missed the tag and Kawasaki was safe.

Freiman then threw to catcher Stephen Vogt, who stepped on home plate for a forceout with Edwin Encarnacion, the runner on third, approaching.

Gibbons requested the review, arguing that Kawasaki was out and that Encarnacion should be allowed to score because there would have been no force play at the plate.

After a delay of 4 minutes, 27 seconds, the call was overturned and the Blue Jays were given a 1-0 lead.

“Replay’s a new dimension to this game and there’s going to be quirks and funny plays like this that happen,” crew chief Bill Miller said. “What happened on the field was there was a tag, there was not a tag on the runner at home.”

Oakland manager Bob Melvin immediately came out to argue. The A’s played the remainder of the game under protest.

It didn’t matter.

Story Continues →