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CWS@TOR: Dickey fans Flowers for 1,000th strikeout

The Blue Jays are flying high after a wild walk-off win over the Brewers as they open a four-game game series Thursday in Oakland in a battle between two first-place American League teams. Oakland is coming off a three-game sweep to the Tigers after falling, 9-3, in Wednesday's finale at Comerica Park.

The A's, who were unable to shake the pesky Tigers -- a team they dropped deciding games to during the last two AL Division Series -- face the last squad they were swept by before Detroit. Oakland dropped three straight in Toronto on May 23-25.

"They're a real good team," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "We caught them in the midst when they were playing really, really well. It's not like they've played poorly since, but that was a real hot streak they were in. ... It's one of the elite teams in the American League. They have been all year."

These teams come in as two of the most productive in baseball. Oakland leads the Majors with 422 runs scored, and Toronto tops MLB with 111 homers -- seven more than second place Baltimore.

Edwin Encarnacion belted his 26th homer of the year, with two outs and two on, to propel Toronto to a sweep of the Brewers in a brief, two-game series.

Oakland pitchers will look to counter the Toronto bats with a staff that has held hitters to a league low .231 average against.

Sonny Gray (7-3, 3.20 ERA) goes to the hill against former Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey (6-7, 4.24 ERA) in Thursday's series opener. Gray is coming off a no-decision against the Marlins on Saturday in which he allowed five runs on seven hits. Dickey, who has dropped his last three starts, has held Oakland batters to just a .201 average over the last five years. That run includes holding A's catalyst Coco Crisp hitless in 14 at-bats.

A's: O'Flaherty could bolster bullpen soon
Melvin reiterated Wednesday that "there's a chance" lefty Eric O'Flaherty could join the A's bullpen as soon as Thursday for the start of a six-game homestand against the Blue Jays and Giants.

O'Flaherty, who underwent Tommy John surgery last summer, made his 10th rehab appearance Tuesday night, allowing one hit and one walk with two strikeouts in a combined one inning for Triple-A Sacramento. He recorded two outs in the fifth and one more in the sixth.

Blue Jays: Bautista homers again as DH
Jose Bautista hit a solo home run for the second game in a row as the designated hitter on Wednesday. Bautista, who has been nursing a left hamstring strain, was in the starting lineup as the DH for the second straight game after missing nine days. His homer came in the first inning.

Bautista wasn't able to test his injured left hamstring in his return to the lineup on Tuesday, and until he's able to run the basepaths with some vigor, a date for his return to right field remains uncertain.

Encarnacion played a rare game in left field on Wednesday as Adam Lind took over first-base duties.

Worth noting
• Thursday's game in Oakland is Toronto's first in a 10-game, 11-day road trip that will lead into the All-Star break. The Blue Jays don't return to home until July 18 against the Rangers.

• Entering Wednesday, Jose Reyes was hitting .394 with three doubles, a triple and one homer in his last seven games. Comments