TORONTO -- And on the ninth day, the A's returned to normalcy.
An eighth consecutive win wasn't to be had Thursday in Toronto, where the A's utilized a pair of home runs from Josh Reddick and Brandon Inge off Blue Jays lefty Aaron Laffey to jump out to a three-run lead, before doing something they hadn't done since their last loss on July 17: Give up six or more runs.
The result was a 10-4 defeat to the Blue Jays, who used two of their own long balls, along with a safety squeeze play and a four-run eighth, to push past baseball's hottest team and halt its winning streak at seven in the matinee finale.
Inge responded accordingly, telling his team that anything but a win is "unacceptable" these days.
"We don't lose," he said, before breaking into a smile, ensuring it was all a joke. "Of course we're going to lose a game here or there, but we're still going to have fun. It's gonna happen. It won't be the last time we lose this year, either."
The A's still head back across the border with a series win in hand, their July record still extraordinary at 16-3.
"We took two out of three on the road," manager Bob Melvin said. "I think any time you take two out of three on the road, you have to consider it a success."
"Yeah, you just push this one aside," starter Tommy Milone added, "and keep playing the way we've been playing."
Milone was charged with six runs -- five earned -- in the loss, half of which came courtesy of Edwin Encarnacion's game-tying three-run homer in the fourth, after having not given up more than two earned runs since June 13.
He got off to a blazing start, retiring each of the first nine batters faced, with four strikeouts along the way. But former A's outfielder Rajai Davis led off the fourth with a base hit, and Brett Lawrie added another with one out to bring up Encarnacion, who drilled a 2-2 pitch -- "That was his one bad pitch," Melvin said -- into the left-field stands for his career-high 27th home run of the season.
"It was supposed to be a cutter in," Milone said. "It just kind of flattened out and stayed over the plate, pretty much right where he wants it."
Kelly Johnson also went deep off the southpaw, launching a 2-2 curveball from the lefty to right field in the seventh, which would be Milone's last, after fanning seven with no walks.
Milone has now offered up 17 homers in 12 road starts, compared to just one in the pitcher-friendly confines of the Oakland Coliseum, where he's pitched 11 times.
"It goes back to being more comfortable there," Milone said. "One of the reasons is probably because it's so big. Obviously, you always like pitching better at home than on the road."
In the sixth, Colby Rasmus and Lawrie compiled back-to-back hits off Milone, who proceeded to throw a wild pitch and allow both runners to advance. One out later, with runners on second and third, Travis Snider executed a safety squeeze bunt down the third-base line, with Milone handling the ball, but throwing it away at first for an error to allow not just one run, but two to score, erasing a 4-3 A's lead gained in the fifth.
"When he first squared, I thought maybe I would have a play at home," Milone said. "But then I saw the runner out of the corner of my eye, and it looked like he was going to be safe anyway, so I just thought I didn't have enough time, so I turned and threw at the same time and didn't pick up my target and threw it and it hit him."
"That's a good play on [Snider's] part," said Inge, who was stationed near the bag at the time. "I was kind of ready for it, but I wasn't totally committed to that. He did an outstanding job on deadening the ball on the bunt. For a guy who, on our scouting reports doesn't put down many bunts, he really deadened that ball like he was a bunt guy. I'll give him credit for that.
"I'm going to play the percentages that he's going to swing away. I'm not going to play the percentages that he's going to bunt and, on top of it, make such a good bunt."
For Toronto manager John Farrell, the play was simply a matter of "just trying to tie things up."
"Fortunately, they mishandled the ball and we end up scoring two runs," Farrell said.
The go-ahead run wasn't Toronto's last, as the Blue Jays crossed home plate four times in the eighth against A's lefty Sean Doolittle, who carried a 13 1/3-inning scoreless streak into the game.
As a club, the A's are ready to start a new streak, pronto.
"There's not much you can do at this point in the season that's really going to crush our spirits," Inge said.