After a four-game winning streak that included 28 runs, the Athletics and their offense ran into a roadblock on Tuesday night, suffering a 5-0 loss to the Blue Jays.
The American League West leaders will try to reignite the bats for Wednesday afternoon's series finale at O.co Coliseum -- and they could have a new face in the lineup.
Oakland made a move on Tuesday night to bolster its playoff chances ahead of Wednesday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline, acquiring infielder Alberto Callaspo from the Angels for Minor League infielder Grant Green. Callaspo played third base for Los Angeles, but will slot in at second for Oakland, which was not getting enough production from its platoon of Eric Sogard and Adam Rosales.
The switch-hitting Callaspo at least figures to supplant Rosales against left-handers, whom he had hit for a .262/.330/.405 line entering Tuesday. Jed Lowrie can remain the full-time shortstop, backed up by Sogard.
Entering Tuesday's game, The A's had collected at least 10 hits in three of their past four contests, batting .284 over that span. The club had hit .186 over its previous 13 contests, even while managing a 7-6 record.
"You can see what this team is capable of doing," manager Bob Melvin said before Tuesday's loss. "Even though we're not swinging well, we find ways to stay in games and give ourselves a chance to win. But anytime you can put together some offensive performances like we have the last couple of nights, it always gives you that good feeling that you can overcome just about anything."
Oakland will go up against Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (8-11, 4.86 ERA), who is 0-3 with a 6.12 ERA over his past four starts, giving up six of his 24 total homers. But Dickey has been a much different pitcher away from hitter-friendly Rogers Centre, with a 3.58 ERA and only six homers in 10 starts.
"I feel like I've given up some wall scrapers this year, that's for sure," Dickey said after Friday's home outing against the Astros. "I guess the good news is both pitchers have to pitch in this park. I'm not the only one. There's no room, or no time, to pout about that. So you just put your head down and keep trying to get outs."
The A's will counter with Bartolo Colon (14-3, 2.54), who is putting together the type of surprise season that Dickey did last year, on his way to NL Cy Young honors. Colon owns a 1.70 ERA over his past 14 starts, going at least six innings and giving up no more than three runs in each. That streak ties him with Dan Haren for the longest in A's history since 1916.
The 40-year-old's success isn't just a product of his cavernous home park. He has exactly the same ERA on the road.
"It feels like every time he goes out there, we're in a very good position to get the win," manager Bob Melvin said. "What you look for in a starter is someone who can give you a chance to win every time and not only does he give us that, he gives us the confidence that we are going to win every time, so he takes it a little further for us."
Blue Jays: Cabrera fighting leg soreness
Left fielder Melky Cabrera sat out Tuesday's game due to lingering soreness in his legs, a condition he has played through for much of the season. With defense in mind in the expansive outfield of O.co Coliseum, manager John Gibbons started Emilio Bonifacio in left.
"Melky's still not running very good," Gibbons said. "In the games we have fly-ball guys like [Mark Buehrle], they have to flag them down out there. We're looking for wins, man, they have to flag them down.
"He might be moving a little better than he was, but he's still not moving very good."
Cabrera has been the subject of trade rumors, but seems unlikely to be dealt this year.
Athletics: Preparing for the knuckler
The A's haven't faced Dickey since 2011, so they figure to be in for a challenge on Wednesday.
"I've been different places where you try to do some different things, whether it's just in the cage trying to slow it down a little bit," Melvin said. "But he does throw a hard knuckleball at times, too. He's just a good pitcher and he's very unique. You don't see it very often over the course of a season and you got to try and find a way to prepare for it. But I don't know if there's any particular way that you can."
• A's second basemen entered Tuesday with a .254/.320/.340 batting line, ranking 24th in the Majors in OPS. Their two home runs and 22 RBIs both ranked last.
• Dickey hasn't pitched in Oakland since 2009.
• The teams will meet again for a four-game series in Toronto from Aug. 9-12.