Jays try to steal series from A's

Amid rumors that they have been stealing signs from the game series victory over the Oakland Athletics this afternoon from Rogers Centre.

In a report released by ESPN The Magazine, Blue Jays players were aided by a man dressed in white sitting in the center field seats.

"This whole thing is stupid," Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos said on the club's website. "It's unbelievable that we're even sitting here to talk about this.

"I just wish people would look at the common-sense component first and say, 'Is this really realistic?' Think about what would have to go into this kind of stuff."

Toronto pushed aside the allegations and handed the Athletics an 8-4 loss Wednesday night in the second test of this series. Youngster Brett Lawrie hit a grand slam and Adam Lind added two hits and an RBI for the Blue Jays, who rebounded from Tuesday's 4-1 loss in the series opener to win for the ninth time in 15 tries.

Henderson Alvarez made his major league debut on the mound and did not record a decision after allowing three runs in 5 2/3 innings. Casey Janssen earned the win for Toronto in one-third of an inning and Jesse Litch posted his first save over the last 2 2/3 frames. Both clubs emptied the benches in the eighth inning after Yunel Escobar was hit in the middle of his back by a fastball from A's left-hander Jordan Norberto.

Order was quickly restored and no ejections were made. Escobar has reached base safely in 38 of his last 41 games since June 18.

"I just tried to go in and missed," Norberto said.

Toronto, which will also host the LA Angels of Anaheim on this homestand, hopes Brad Mills can pitch the ballclub to a series triumph today. Mills will make his third start since behind called up and is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA. He defeated Baltimore the last time out in a 5-4 win last Friday, as he yielded three runs in 5 1/3 innings of work. Mills lost to Texas in his 2011 debut on July 30.

The left-hander has never faced the Athletics in his career.

Oakland will wrap up a nine-game road trip tonight and owns a 3-5 mark so far on the trip. In last night's loss to the Jays, starter Gio Gonzalez suffered the defeat for allowing four runs in five innings of work.

"I feel like I'm pitching a lot better than my performance is coming out," Gonzalez said postgame.

Josh Willingham and David DeJesus both homered in defeat for the A's, who had a three-game winning streak stopped and will begin a 10-game homestand Friday versus the Rangers, Orioles and Blue Jays. The A's have homered in eight straight games with 13 total home runs in that span.

A's outfielder Coco Crisp was out of the lineup Wednesday because of a sore right calf muscle and is doubtful for Thursday. He hasn't played since Saturday against the Rays at the Trop.

"He's going to do some baseball activity out here today, so that's encouraging," manager Bob Melvin said. "But we want to make sure that when we do bring him back he's ready to go. I don't want to chance that, because any time there's a pull, especially in the legs, that's a big part of his game, and we want to be careful with that."

Guillermo Moscoso hopes to get some support when he takes the mound for Melvin this afternoon. He is 4-6 with a 3.69 ERA in 14 games (12 starts) this season and lost his most recent outing last Friday in an 8-4 decision at Tampa Bay, giving up four runs and six hits in 4 2/3 frames.

Moscoso, a right-hander, is only 1-5 in eight road assignments, six of which have been starts, this season and owns a 0-0 record with a 9.00 ERA in one relief appearance against the Blue Jays on June 9, 2009.

Toronto won two of three over Oakland at home back in April and has still taken 19 of the past 27 meetings in this series.