A's rally from early deficit to beat Jays

A's rally to top Jays

TORONTO -- Ever since his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2004, Bobby Crosby had been a fixture as Oakland's starting shortstop. But that is the past.

Because of Crosby's hitting struggles in recent seasons, as well as the addition of Orlando Cabrera, Crosby entered this year having to adjust to a demotion, garnering playing time at different positions, while coming off the bench.

Given such circumstances, Crosby's contributions to Oakland's 8-5 victory over the Blue Jays on Friday must have felt extra special.

With Oakland trailing by four in the fourth inning, Crosby delivered a bases-loaded triple that plated three runs and effectively brought the A's back into the contest. The hit was just his second in 12 at-bats this season. A few batters later, Crosby came around to score the tying run on a wild pitch by Toronto starter David Purcey.

When asked how it felt afterward to play such a big part in the victory, the 29-year-old Crosby didn't display too much emotion.

"It's nice," he modestly offered. "Offensively, I'm struggling a bit, so it's good to go out there and play well. It's a good feeling."

In reality, though, his hit was critical in helping the A's collect a come-from-behind win against Toronto (8-4), which sits atop the American League East standings. Matt Holliday broke a 5-5 tie in the sixth inning with an RBI double, giving Oakland (5-5) a lead it would not relinquish, but the discussion following the game centered on Crosby.

"He's doesn't want people to feel sorry for him," A's catcher Kurt Suzuki said of Crosby. "He's a professional. The nice thing about him is he just comes to the park every day to play hard. If he gets the call, he's going to go in there and play like he can.

"And that was a huge hit for us tonight. And to come from him, it was definitely great, because everybody knows what he's been going through the last month and a half."

Crosby has only started three of Oakland's 10 games, and he has played at a number of different positions, including first, second and third base as well as right field. From what he has seen so far, A's manager Bob Geren has been impressed.

"He's done a great job," Geren said of Crosby. "He's done everything we've asked. He's been professional, and he's showed a lot of athleticism wherever he's gone. The way the makeup of the team is, he's going to get some playing time."

In Friday's contest, the A's were handcuffed early by a poor performance on the mound by lefty Josh Outman, who was making just his sixth Major League start. Outman allowed five runs (three earned) on five hits and four walks over four frames.

Outman did not look strong from the get-go, as his first pitch of the game was deposited over the left-field wall by Jays leadoff hitter Marco Scutaro.

In the third inning, Jays second baseman Aaron Hill launched a 1-1 pitch from Outman for a two-run home run that put the Jays up, 3-1.

But the damage did not stop there, as Outman surrendered a double to Kevin Millar that reached the left-center-field wall and plated two more runs, pushing the score to 5-1.

"Poor, quite poor," Outman said of his outing. "Our bullpen has been excellent, but I've got to make it through five [innings]. I'm killing the bullpen."

The Oakland bullpen has been strong this season, and it only improved its numbers on Friday. The A's relief corps entered Friday's contest sporting a 3.19 ERA -- good for third in the American League -- over 31 innings, while posting a miniscule .198 opponents' batting average, which ranked second in the league.

And such stats only improved at Rogers Centre, as Andrew Bailey (2-0), Michael Wuertz, Santiago Casilla and Brad Ziegler combined to allow just one hit over five scoreless innings. Ziegler also earned his third save of the season.

Having the bullpen perform the way it has so far in the young 2009 campaign, has been a tremendous boost for the club, according to Crosby.

"It's pretty impressive," he said. "It's good knowing you're going to those innings and you can have a one run lead or a two run lead, and you feel like they're going to be able to hold it."

David Singh is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.