Straily set to debut as A's continue set with Blue Jays

Dan Straily makes his major league debut this evening when the Oakland Athletics continue their four-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at the Coliseum.

Straily becomes the fifth rookie pitcher to get a start for Oakland this season and enters this matchup with a minor league-best 175 strikeouts over 138 1/3 innings for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento.

"Tomorrow will be a big day," manager Bob Melvin said on Thursday. "A lot of hype, and rightfully so."

He was 3-4 with a 3.38 ERA, while fanning 108 in just 85 1/3 innings for Midland, before going 5-2 with a 1.36 ERA in Sacramento. He's allowed just 97 hits and surrendered 37 walks between both teams.

"I think we're all excited to watch him pitch," Melvin said. "You look at the numbers and they're certainly indicative of the chance to pitch here. I think the organization has done very well this year to target guys and not be afraid to get them here while they're hot. Guys like that, you find a way to get him into the rotation, and we're all excited about getting him into the rotation. I've seen the video, I've seen the numbers, and everybody is real excited."

Toronto, meanwhile, will rely on lefty Brett Cecil, who is 2-4 with a 5.56 ERA. Cecil lost his third straight start on Sunday against Detroit, as he allowed three runs and four hits in 6 2/3 innings. He also walked four and struck out seven.

"I'm not going to change anything," Cecil said after his last start. "Just keep doing what I'm doing. Wins will come. More importantly, I just need to keep my team in the game. That's all I can do."

Cecil lost to Oakland two starts ago and is 2-3 lifetime against them with a 2.83 ERA in five starts.

In Thursday's opener, Bartolo Colon spun eight scoreless innings in Oakland's 4-1 win.

Colon (8-8) scattered seven hits and walked just one while striking out three to earn his second straight victory. Sean Doolittle surrendered a pair of hits in the ninth before Ryan Cook came on to nail down his 11th save of the year.

"Early in the game I didn't know if he had his best stuff to tell you the truth, but he finds a way," said Oakland manager Bob Melvin of Colon. "He makes you make the adjustment."

Josh Reddick crushed a two-run homer, while Seth Smith and Brandon Inge each knocked in a run to help snap Oakland's brief two-game skid.

Henderson Alvarez (7-8) surrendered three runs on four hits and five walks to earn the loss. Pinch-hitter Moises Sierra plated Toronto's lone run with an RBI groundout as the Blue Jays dropped their fifth straight game.

"We're in a stretch where runs are at a premium," Toronto manager John Farrell said. "It's difficult to string hits together right now. You have to credit Colon. He stayed out of the middle of the plate."

Oakland has won four of its six meetings with the Jays this season.