Sometimes, all it takes is a change of scenery. For the A's, they got just what they hoped for in a return home Thursday after their most recent trip concluded with a three-game sweep in Detroit.

It helps, of course, that the A's played in front of 32,913 adoring fans and had ace Sonny Gray at the ready to outduel Toronto Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. In the end, the A's prevailed 4-1 at the Coliseum.

"We were a little tired at the end of another long road trip," A's closer Sean Doolittle said. "Coming home and seeing the place packed out, that was really kind of a shot in the arm for us. That was the boost that we needed."

The A's don't care how they beat the Blue Jays, just as long as they got back in a winning mode and erased the bad taste from losing three straight in Detroit.

That's precisely what the A's did in the first of four games between first-place teams in the American League.

Most of the scoring came in the second inning, and Gray and the A's bullpen made the two runs they received that inning hold up. In turn, that left the fans in a festive mood for the postgame fireworks show.

Oakland catcher Stephen Vogt credited Gray for keeping his composure early in the game, when there was the potential for disaster.

"Sonny doesn't let anything get to him," Vogt said. "With Sonny, there's no such thing as pressure, there's no such thing as a memory. He doesn't remember yesterday or the last inning. He comes out and gives you the best he's got every time."

The turning point came in the second inning, when Gray induced Anthony Gose to hit a ground ball to first baseman Nate Freiman with the bases loaded and one out.

Freiman tried to tag Munenori Kawasaki as the Blue Jays runner went from first to second. First base umpire Vic Carapazza signaled Freiman missed Kawasaki. Freiman then fired to Vogt for a force out at home.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons challenged the ruling on Freiman's attempted tag of Kawasaki, knowing if the call got overturned, Edwin Encarnacion would be safe at home because the force play no longer was in effect and Vogt didn't tag Encarnacion.

The umpires huddled, reviewed the play and sided with Gibbons. That gave the Blue Jays a run.

As a result, A's manager Bob Melvin informed the umpires he wanted the game played under protest on the grounds that Carapazza's safe call "affected what (Vogt) did at home."

Melvin said he was told afterward that anything that has to do with replay can't be protested.