Abraham Toro, Athletics aim to slug way past Rockies

Two teams whose seasons have mirrored one another meet again Wednesday night when the Colorado Rockies visit the Oakland Athletics.

Abraham Toro launched the sixth and final home run of the night in the eighth inning on Tuesday, breaking a tie between the teams and sending the A’s to a 5-4 win over the Rockies.

Two of baseball’s five 30-game losers, the clubs each finished with three homers and alternated runs — the Rockies scoring in the first, fifth and seventh innings and the A’s in the third, sixth, seventh.

Acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers in November, the verstatile Toro has contributed by playing around the infield and at designated hitter. And at the plate.

In May, he is hitting , he’s hit .341 with six doubles, three homers and 15 runs.

“It’s been awesome to watch. He’s really grown,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said after watching his club end an eight-game losing streak Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series.

“We identified the bat in the offseason. He’s been this type of hitter in spurts. This is probably his best three-week run. The smile is kinda contagious. He plays the game hard. He’s a great teammate. All the intangibles are there.”

It will be up to Rockies left-hander Austin Gomber (1-2, 3.02 ERA) to attempt to keep Toro at bay in the rematch. Gomber has been on a nice roll in May, going 1-0 with a 0.48 ERA in three starts. His most recent outing was an 8-0 win at San Diego in which he allowed two hits and struck out five batters in six innings on May 15.

The career-long National Leaguer has never faced the A’s and never gone head-to-head with Toro.

The A’s will turn to right-hander Mitch Spence (3-2, 3.90) in an effort to extend Colorado’s losing streak to five games. He will be making his second major-league start after coming out of the bullpen in his first 11 appearances.

Spence’s big-league debut as a starter generally went well in Kansas City last Friday, when he limited the Royals to one run and five hits in 4 2/3 innings in a 6-2 loss.

The 26-year-old has never faced the Rockies, but he can expect to see Kris Bryant in the Colorado lineup after the oft-injured slugger returned from a minor-league rehab stint to go 0-for-4 in the series opener. Dealing with back issues, Bryant hadn’t played since April 13.

The 2016 NL Most Valuable Player admitted he might never be the same physically.

“I guess (the back injury is) hard to speak on because I’m not a doctor,” Bryant, 32, said, “but the disks in my back are pretty much dried up, so there’s a couple of disks that … they don’t function like they did 10 years ago. My facet joints are pretty severely arthritic, and (there are) a lot of bone spurs and stuff like that.

“It’s just part of getting older. That’s the way the doctor explained it to me. So I just have to find a way to manage it the best I can.”

–Field Level Media