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TOR@LAA: Morrow shuts out Halos over complete game

Oakland used a late-inning homer for the second time in its past three games for a victory over the Blue Jays on Tuesday night.

Jonny Gomes was the hero in Saturday's victory over the Rays, hitting a homer in the 12th inning, and Tuesday it was Brandon Inge, who led the Athletics to a dramatic walk-off win over Toronto by blasting a grand slam off closer Francisco Cordero in the ninth.

It was Oakland's third consecutive victory, which matched the club's season-high winning streak.

Toronto, meanwhile, lost its third straight game and will look to avoid dropping four consecutive for the second time this season when the club turns the ball over to right-hander Brandon Morrow on Wednesday.

Morrow is coming off a dominating outing, as he threw a complete-game shutout against the Angels on Thursday and has won three straight decisions.

Blue Jays manager John Farrell has been impressed with not only Morrow but his entire rotation.

"I would agree that as we came out of Spring Training one of the areas that we needed to improve upon, and I think we have, is how far starters are going into games, the frequency in which we're keeping games under control," Farrell said.

Morrow, who is 3-1 with 2.38 ERA and 0.91 WHIP, will be opposed by Tyson Ross, who was bumped up a day because Brandon McCarthy has been experiencing shoulder soreness.

Ross has struggled after posting quality starts in his first two outings of the season. He's lost his past two starts, surrendering 16 runs over just 7 1/3 innings.

"I think his timing and his rhythm might be off, and he's going to have to find a consistent rhythm in order to throw the ball over the plate consistently," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "That's always going to be the case with him. When he throws the ball over the plate consistently, he gets ahead and now his offspeed stuff comes into play. If he doesn't, most everyone knows his sinker is coming. The ball-strike ratio will always be key for him."

Oakland's win in the opener of a two-game set with Toronto improved its record to 16-14, the same as the Blue Jays.

Athletics: Cespedes scratched Tuesday
Rookie Yoenis Cespedes was scratched from Tuesday's contest because of soreness in his left hand after taking a few swings in batting practice.

The Cuban outfielder is batting .245 with five homers and 21 RBIs. He was scheduled to have an MRI on Wednesday.

• Inge has two homers and eight RBIs in his past two games after hitting a game-winning home run against the Blue Jays on Tuesday.

The veteran, who signed with the Athletics after being released by the Tigers earlier in the season, is batting just .146 but has nine RBIs since joining Oakland.

• Oakland stole two more bases Tuesday to increase its American League-leading total to 28. Jemile Weeks stole his sixth base of the year, while Cliff Pennington swiped his fifth.

Entering Tuesday's contest, eight of those steals had been of third base, which was the most in the Majors, and Oakland had a stolen-base percentage of 78.8 percent, which ranked second in the AL.

The club has excelled on the bases despite Coco Crisp, who tied for the AL lead with 49 last season, being limited to just 18 games.

Blue Jays: Bullpen struggling, again
Toronto did a lot in the offseason to improve its biggest weakness from the year before -- the bullpen -- but so far the club has got mixed results.

Cordero, who served up Inge's walk-off grand slam, blew his third save of the season -- all since April 27 -- and his ERA spiked 9.53 in the process. Cordero, who is second on the active saves list behind Mariano Rivera, has allowed an earned run in five of his past six outings.

Cordero and Sergio Santos, whom the Blue Jays both acquired in the offseason to be their eighth- and ninth-inning men, combined for 67 saves in 2011 but have saved just four games while blowing six this season. Making matters worse, Santos hasn't pitched since April 20, as a shoulder injury landed him on the disabled list.

• Second baseman Kelly Johnson has been on a tear since being inserted into the top spot in the lineup.

Johnson has hit safely in five of six games since hitting leadoff for the first time this season May 2, batting .333 (8-for-24) with two homers, six RBIs and three multihit games over that stretch. He provided Toronto with a home run and three RBIs in Tuesday's losing effort. Comments