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OAK@TOR: Lawrie launches a grand slam in the sixth

TORONTO -- Brett Lawrie has only been in the Major Leagues for five games, but already he is proving to have a flare for the dramatic.

The 21-year-old continued the torrid pace to the start of his career with another impressive night at the plate. But it was his shot in the sixth inning that had the Rogers Centre crowd on its feet Wednesday night.

Lawrie's legend continued to grow as he hit a go-ahead grand slam to lead the Blue Jays to an 8-4 victory and snap the Athletics winning streak at three games.

"That's the funnest game I've ever been a part of," said Lawrie, who went 2-for-4 with a double and four RBIs. "I'm just glad I helped contribute to a great win. Our guys threw the ball well tonight, everybody swung the bats and I was just so glad to be a part of it."

Toronto was struggling to generate any offense against left-handed starter Gio Gonzalez early in the game. The Blue Jays scored one in the first on an RBI single by Adam Lind, but were then held in check until the sixth.

Gonzalez's effectiveness came to an end when he came back out to start the sixth with a 3-1 lead. He allowed the first three batters he faced to reach base before departing with the bases loaded.

Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill promptly greeted reliever Craig Breslow with an RBI single to left field. It was Hill's 41st RBI of the season and just his third since July 26.

Lawrie then came to bat and quickly got ahead in the count 2-0. The converted catcher hit a sky-high fly ball to left field. Josh Willingham attempted to track down the ball but it kept carrying and went just over for the wall for the grand slam.

"I put a good swing on it," Lawrie said. "I was just trying to hit a deep fly ball at that point -- obviously just to get a run. I was just fortunate enough that the ball carried more than I thought it was a going to. Grand slam, so it's pretty cool."

Lawrie let out a scream as he rounded first base and unloaded an enthusiastic fist pump into the air. The celebration continued as he returned to the Blue Jays' dugout and was greeted by his teammates.

The native of Langley, British Columbia, bumped fists with his comrades and let out a few more screams while also tossing his helmet aside. He would soon go out and wave to the 19,541 fans at Rogers Centre, who were still on their feet applauding.

To the Blue Jays, it was an excited rookie celebrating his first professional grand slam, but the blast wasn't viewed quite the same way by Oakland.

"While it was going on, I didn't see it," said Breslow, who allowed two earned runs in one inning. "I was trying to get the next guy out. I could tell it was a little bit louder when I came in and saw the celebration. It was a big hit. I probably wouldn't have chosen to celebrate it that way ... but he got the best of me there."

Lawrie's blast handed Gonzalez his 10th loss of the season. He was charged with four runs on four hits while walking five and striking out four in five-plus innings.

In the eighth, A's reliever Jordan Norberto plunked Yunel Escobar with a first-pitch fastball near his back, forcing the benches to clear as Escobar made his way toward the mound while catcher Kurt Suzuki took guard in front of him. The fracas dissolved quickly without a single punch being thrown, and Norberto -- making just his third Major League appearance of the year -- maintained the pitch was unintentional.

"I was kinda surprised because I didn't hit him on purpose," he said. "I tried to go in and missed."

But Toronto manager John Farrell had a different take on the matter.

"When it's a first pitch and you hit somebody in the back," he said, "you know what, I know tonight was probably, what, his third appearance? But it certainly wasn't his third appearance in pro baseball.

"I can't sit here today or at this moment and say it was intentional, but when you miss that wide, particularly to your glove side, it makes one wonder."

The 21-year-old Lawrie is now batting .389 (7-for-18) with two home runs and six RBIs in five games since being promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas.

Lawrie had been waiting for his time to shine in the Major Leagues ever since he was a little kid, but he never envisioned things would be going this well, this quickly.

"It's everything that I could have imagined and more," Lawrie said. "It's awesome to come here every day and ... I get to play baseball in front of a bunch of people that want to watch me play and watch all these guys play.

"It's awesome to go out there. The fans have been awesome, there's not 30,000, but they sound like it and that gets me fired up and I'm sure it fires all the other guys up too."

Right-hander Henderson Alvarez made his Major League debut on the mound for the Blue Jays. The 21-year-old became the third youngest pitcher to ever start a game for the Blue Jays behind only Jeff Byrd (20) and Phil Huffman (20 years-21 days).

Alvarez consistently threw his fastball in the mid-90s and after a couple of innings, started to unveil an effective changeup.

His one bad inning took place during the fourth. He surrendered a solo home run to outfielder David DeJesus, which evened the score at 1.

Ryan Sweeney followed later in the inning with an RBI double and Scott Sizemore added an RBI single to extend Oakland's lead to 3-1.

Alvarez stayed in the game until there was two outs in the sixth. He was charged with three runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out four.

"The first time through the [batting] order I was trying to get ahead with the fastball," Alvarez said through interpreter Luis Rivera. "I was trying to establish the fastball and after I established the fastball I knew I could go to it.

"I started using my breaking ball and using my changeup more, but I wanted to make sure I established the fastball first. That's why I started using the secondary stuff the second time around."

The main story of the day, though, was Alvarez's fellow rookie and teammate. It's likely a day that Lawrie will not soon forget and one his teammates probably won't either.

"I was so caught up in the moment," Lawrie said of his celebration in the dugout. "I was so fired up, I don't think I hurt anybody but I don't think a lot of people are going to shake my hands from now on, though."

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