Oakland played more poor defense struggled again with runners in scoring position and got a high-wire act in the ninth inning from closer Grant Balfour.

Somehow the A's prevailed despite those shortcomings Sunday the offense at last producing in a 6-4 victory over Toronto as manager Bob Melvin recorded his 700th career victory.

It wasn't one of the easier wins of Melvin's career.

"Never a dull moment" Melvin said. "Phew ... excruciating. We found a way to win but it wasn't pretty."

Balfour walked a season-high three in the ninth and the Blue Jays scored a run on a double by Brett Lawrie. Balfour escaped a bases-loaded jam by getting Reyes to ground out to end the game leaving the potential tying run at second base. It was Balfour's 30th save of the season.

"That was horrible today no doubt about it" said Balfour who was having trouble putting his slider where he wanted it. "I was frustrated. I was fighting it. I'm not going to lie."

Melvin was getting a little nervous - he doesn't like any pitcher to throw 50 pitches in an inning and with relievers the number is more like 40. Balfour threw 37. Adding to the anxiety along with Balfour's usual slow work style catcher Stephen Vogt kept visiting the mound as the crowd of 45312 screamed. It was just Vogt's second time catching Balfour and he wanted to make sure they were on the same page.

"He just had no feel for his slider and was yanking the ball a little bit but that's what front-line closers do - they get the job done" Vogt said. "There was not one point in that inning where I got nervous."