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TOR@OAK: Bautista's homer shatters a scoreless tie

OAKLAND -- Luis Perez's first ever start ended up being a performance that most pitchers can only dream about.

The rookie left-hander carried a perfect game into the sixth inning and was almost untouchable for his entire storybook outing.

Perez allowed just one hit in his six innings and right-hander Casey Janssen preserved the shutout, while Jose Bautista hit his 36th homer en route to a 1-0 victory over the A's on Sunday afternoon.

"Not at any time was I trying to hold back and think about it," Perez said through interpreter Luis Rivera. "Mentally I stayed strong. Each inning I was pitching better and better. I kept attacking hitters and throwing strikes."

Perez retired the first 15 batters that he faced while utilizing a low-to-mid 90s sinking fastball mixed in with an effective changeup and occasional slider.

The 26-year-old threw 50 of his 80 pitches for strikes while striking out four over six frames. It was the first time that he threw more than four innings since May 15, when he was pitching for Triple-A Las Vegas.

The Dominican native entered the game with a .208 opponents batting average against left-handers, but had struggled against righties. That didn't seem to matter on Sunday afternoon, though, as Perez cruised against batters from both sides of the plate.

"He threw his four-seamer to the left side and kept it away from the left-handers in the lineup," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "He threw a number of two-strike changeups, where he got a swing and a miss for a strikeout on a number of occasions. He just had a well-executed three-pitch mix today."

Perez spent the previous three weeks working out of the bullpen and appeared to tire in the sixth. He opened the frame by walking shortstop Cliff Pennington on five pitches, which ended the Dominican's chance at a perfect game.

Two batters later, Perez issued his second walk of the inning. Oakland second baseman Jemile Weeks then broke up the no-hitter with a single up the middle to load the bases with just one out.

Farrell opted to give Perez an opportunity to get through the inning with the shutout intact. He cited Perez's ability to get ground balls as the reasoning behind his decision and it proved to be the right one.

Perez threw a well-located sinker to outfielder Coco Crisp and got the inning-ending double play.

"He made a great pitch to Coco," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. "He hit it hard, but it had enough movement away and down where it ended up being a double-play ball, and that was really the deciding play at that point of the game. He made a great pitch to a guy who comes through in those situations quite often."

Perez looked like he might be forced to take a no-decision because of Toronto's lack of offense. Oakland starter Guillermo Moscoso surrendered a single and a walk in the first inning but then proceeded to retire the next 12 batters he faced.

Moscoso came out to start the seventh inning against Bautista. The count was worked full and the grueling 12-pitch at-bat finally came to an end when Bautista got a hold of an 80 mph slider. The slugger proceeded to send it over the scoreboard in left field for his 36th homer of the year.

Bautista had been questionable to start the game because of tightness in his neck. That had little effect on him on Sunday, though, as he extended his hitting streak to seven games.

"Today's not the first time he has knotted a game up or broken a tie late," Farrell said. "He has that kind of, not only presence in our lineup, but the ability to do it at key points in the game. And today was no different."

The pitch to Bautista was the only mistake that Moscoso would make all afternoon. He allowed just three hits while striking out seven in eight strong innings. He now has four quality starts in his past five outings, but he did see his mini winning streak snapped at two games.

Janssen was called upon in the seventh inning to preserve Perez's slim one-run lead. The 29-year-old allowed just one baserunner while striking out four in his first two innings of work.

Janssen was expected to give way to Frank Francisco in the ninth inning. Toronto's closer started warming up late in the game but was forced to shut it down after experiencing soreness in his right shoulder.

That forced Farrell's hand and he opted to go with Janssen for another frame. The native of California came through with a perfect inning to finish with a season-high three innings, while setting a career-high with five strikeouts as a reliever.

"It was a good outing, was good to get out there and throw up some zeroes," said Janssen, who earned his third career save. "I got a little tired, was kind of grinding through that third inning, but I managed to get those three outs.

"Luis pitched great, and to get him that win, to finish off a nice outing for him, is kind of what the bullpen is all about. We want the wins in the dugout and we'll take the holds and saves."

Toronto finished its seven-game West Coast road trip with a 4-3 record. The club has an off-day looming on Monday before it opens a seven-game homestand at Rogers Centre.

"When you can win more than you lose on the road it's a good thing," Farrell said. "This is not an easy ballpark to score in. But our guys did an excellent job on the mound." Comments