OAKLAND, Calif. -- Right-hander Jeff Samardzija was pitching in the first inning of his Oakland A's debut Sunday, and things weren't going as planned.
Samardzija gave up one-out singles to Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Munenori Kawasaki and left fielder Melky Cabrera, putting runners on first and third and bringing powerful first baseman Jose Bautista to the plate. Samardzija got Bautista to hit into a double play.
Crisis averted. Samardzija allowed just one run and four hits in seven innings, leading the A's to a 4-2 victory at the O.co Coliseum.
"It wasn't so much jitters. I was just excited," said Samardzija, who came to the A's from the Chicago Cubs on Saturday as the centerpiece of a five-player trade. "I had a lot of adrenaline going.
"I knew after a couple of hits I needed to bear down. It's not the way you want to start your first inning with a new club. That double play was probably one of the biggest pitches of the game for me. It allowed me to relax."
Samardzija struck out five and walked one. He struck out the side in the seventh inning and left the mound to a standing ovation from the crowd of 22,897.
Oakland completed its first four-game series sweep of the Blue Jays since 1981 and first sweep of any length against Toronto since 2000. The big-league-leading Athletics (55-33) improved to a season-high 22 games above .500 with their eighth sweep of the season, tied for the most in the major leagues.
The Blue Jays, who scored only four runs in the series, lost for the 10th time in their past 15 games and for the sixth straight time on the road.
"We got shut down big time," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We had chances, it didn't happen. We pitched good enough to win every one of these games.
"We're not very good right now. A couple of regulars are cold. We're just not producing."
Catcher John Jaso, shortstop Jed Lowrie, right fielder Stephen Vogt and center fielder Craig Gentry each had two hits for the A's, who scored once in the second inning, twice in the third and once in the eighth.
Blue Jays infielder Steve Tolleson launched his first career pinch-hit homer, a solo shot leading off the ninth against A's closer Sean Doolittle, who notched his 13th save.
On the day he notched his first win for Oakland, Samardzija was named a National League All-Star for his work with the Cubs. He will participate in the All-Star festivities but won't play in the game.
Samardzija used mid-90s heat, a nasty split-finger fastball and an occasional slider to handcuff the Blue Jays for most of the day.
"The performance was terrific," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He was excited as you could be. I don't know how much sleep he got last night. He almost beat me here this morning. He has a lot of fun in the clubhouse and is serious when he's on the field, so he fits in very well. Great to get him off to a good start like that."
After Cabrera's single, Samardzija didn't allow another hit until shortstop Jose Reyes stroked a soft single to center with one out in the sixth. Kawasaki sliced a double down the left field line, moving Reyes to third. Reyes raced home when Cabrera grounded out to second, cutting Oakland's lead to 3-1. However, Samardzija retired Bautista on a ground ball to third.
Samardzija went 2-7 with the last-place Cubs despite posting a 2.83 ERA, rarely receiving offensive support. The A's gave him a 1-0 lead in the second inning and made it 3-0 in the fourth.
"It was beautiful, man, that was awesome," Samardzija said. "Just getting one early run as a pitcher is the best thing ever. You can go out and pound the zone and understand if a guy gets on base, so be it. If he scores, it's just a tie ballgame."
Blue Jays right-hander Drew Hutchison (6-7) gave up three runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out four, walked two and threw 103 pitches.
"I thought I threw the ball well except for the two walks in the sixth," Hutchison said. "The only pitch I'd like back is the 1-2 change to Lowrie."
Lowrie lined a double down the right field line in the second inning and moved to third on first baseman Nate Freiman's groundout. With two outs, Gentry brought Lowrie home with an infield single.
The A's made it 3-0 in the fourth, getting singles from Vogt, Lowrie, Freiman and Jaso. In the eighth inning, Gentry singled with two outs and scored on a double by catcher Derek Norris, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the sixth and got to catch Samardzija for the first time.
"It was better than I anticipated," Norris said. "Definitely had some adrenaline going through his veins today. It's very nice to see a guy come out there with so much passion."
NOTES: The A's had six players named to the American League All-Star team, with 3B Josh Donaldson voted in as the lone starter. C Derek Norris, LF Yoenis Cespedes, 1B Brandon Moss, LHP Scott Kazmir and LHP Sean Doolittle also made the team. ... Toronto OF Jose Bautista was voted in as a starter for the AL All-Star team. Blue Jays LHP Mark Buehrle and 1B Edwin Encarnacion also made the team, but Encarnacion won't be able to play because of a right quad strain that forced him to miss Sunday's game. ... Moss, who was out of the lineup for the second consecutive game, underwent an MRI of his sprained left ankle that revealed no structural damage. He might return to the lineup Monday against San Francisco. ... Toronto claimed OF Nolan Reimold off waivers from Baltimore. ... Toronto OF Cole Gillespie, who was claimed off waivers Saturday from Seattle, started in right field and went 0-for-3. ... Blue Jays OF Brad Glenn was designated for assignment.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun