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Cecil blanks A's for first victory


Cecil blanks A's for first victory
The Blue Jays begin their most-anticipated series of the young season tomorrow night when they take on the New York Yankees at the Rogers Centre.

Starting for the Yankees will be former Jays right-hander A.J. Burnett against Toronto ace Roy Halladay.

Oh, yeah, Alex Rodriguez, who has returned from off-season hip surgery and has been weathering a storm of bad publicity over his admitted use of performance-enhancing substances, will be in the New York lineup.

The high-flying Jays , who got another exceptional start yesterday from rookie lefty Brett Cecil in blanking the Oakland A's 5-0, go into that set in first place in the AL East, although this will be only their second series this season against a division rival.

Cecil, in his second start for the Jays since being called up from Triple A, checked Oakland on five hits and two walks through eight innings for his first major-league win. He reduced his ERA to 0.64.

That sent Toronto home with a 3-2 record from a two-city swing through California.

Spot starter Brian Tallet was just as impressive with seven innings in a 6-4 win Saturday that ended a two-game losing streak for the Jays .

Cecil and Tallet are both starting while the Jays await the return of starters Casey Janssen, Ricky Romero and Jesse Litsch, who are all rehabbing injuries.

Janssen and Romero are both expected to re-join the starting rotation, possibly as soon as this weekend when Toronto plays host to the Chicago White Sox. Once that happens, the Jays will have to decide how to best use Cecil and Tallet, who began the season in the bullpen.

"Don't forget, Cecil was a closer in college, so he can pitch out of the bullpen, too," said Jays manager Cito Gaston, who also was pleased yesterday over the production of No.3 hitter Alex Rios, who had a homer and three RBIs.

"But I can't say enough how (Cecil) pitched," Gaston continued. "He went out and threw strikes. You hope it's the start of something good for him."

Through the injuries - five starters are out, along with closer B.J. Ryan - the Jays have discovered Tallet is a bona fide starting candidate, while Cecil has lived up to the potential that his first-round (38th overall) selection in the 2007 draft suggested.

"It's a good problem to have," Gaston said of the abundance of pitching talent shown recently by Tallet and Cecil.

"We have to talk to the both of them. (The decision) can affect both of them, if one guy has the feeling he was going to start. If they keep pitching the way they do, that's a decision I like to have."

Cecil worked confidently and smartly yesterday in facing only 30 batters - six over the minimum.

Cecil saw his effort as partly ragged over the early innings. He said he had trouble locating his fastball. Ultimately, he found the plate with his two-seamer and notched five of his six strikeouts with a sweeping curve.

"You want to get ahead of hitters and, in the beginning of the game, I wasn't getting ahead," the 22-year-old said.

"I started throwing more strikes. I left a few out over the plate and guys put good swings on them, but right at somebody. It's good for the confidence, for sure ... a game like this, not having your best stuff, having two, maybe three pitches and working out of it."

Rios got the Jays on the board in the third inning with his third homer of the season and improved his batting average to .255.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 11, 2009

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