Toronto has opened the three-game series with 6-5 and 7-1 victories, the latter allowing the Blue Jays (77-62) to move past the Texas Rangers (76-62) and into the third and final American League wild-card spot.
The Seattle Mariners (77-61) are just another half-game ahead in the second slot.
The Blue Jays took advantage of a soft stretch in the schedule to win consecutive series against the Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies before taking on the A's (42-97). They did not, however, sweep those three-game sets, something they have an opportunity to do on Wednesday in Oakland against the team with the fewest wins in the majors.
Cavan Biggio contributed three walks, a run and an RBI to Tuesday's win, a game that was tightly contested and scoreless through six innings. He noted that he has warned his teammates: No wins come easy at this level.
"I've been on that side of things," Biggio said of the A's. "When I came up in 2019, we were a below-.500 team, but we played some pretty good teams. We won games against Boston and New York, and they certainly were ready to win that year.
"It comes down to playing good baseball. Winning a major league game is hard."
Winning seemed easy for Ryu (3-1, 2.48 ERA) last month, particularly over his final three starts. In all, he is 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his last five starts (including his most recent on Sept. 1). In three of those outings he did not allow an earned run. The Blue Jays have won all five of those games.
The 36-year-old has never lost to the A's in three career starts, going 2-0 with a 5.40 ERA. The Blue Jays backed him with 10 runs of support the only previous time he's started a game in Oakland, a 10-4 win in May of 2021.
Toronto has put up a total of 13 runs in its first two games in this series, but just three of them have come against Oakland's starting pitchers.
A's manager Mark Kotsay gushed over the performance of his Tuesday starter, Ken Waldichuk, after the young left-hander threw six shutout innings.
"That was an amazing outing," Kotsay said. "We talk a lot about the ability to continue to improve, to continue to make adjustments.
"That's a highlight there for the kid. He dominated the zone; he mixed his pitches; he got some soft contact and some double plays. Just an outstanding job."
Hoping for more of the same, the A's will send lefty JP Sears (3-11, 4.60) to the mound in the series finale. It will be the first time Sears faces the Blue Jays since making his major league debut for the New York Yankees against Toronto last April.
He worked a scoreless ninth inning in that game — a 6-4 loss — getting Santiago Espinal to fly out, striking out George Springer and retiring Bo Bichette on a groundout in a 1-2-3 debut.
The 27-year-old ended a five-game winless stretch with a 9-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels last Friday, throwing six innings of four-hit, shutout ball.
—Field Level Media