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Toronto shuts down A's

Toronto shuts down A's
The Toronto Blue Jays are headed back from the West Coast with the American League best record, its most productive offence and almost too many good starting pitchers.

The Oakland Athletics have the league's second-worst record, a miserable offence, no proven starters and little reason to think this rough season will get better soon.

Brett Cecil yielded five hits over eight impressive innings to earn his first major league victory as the Blue Jays beat the A's 5-0 yesterday for their seventh win in 10 games.

Alex Rios drove in three runs for the Jays with a solo homer, a sacrifice fly and a ninth-inning RBI single to back Cecil (1-0), the latest blossoming prospect in Toronto's rotation.

The 22-year-old left-hander struck out six in his second big league start for the Blue Jays , who headed home from their five-game California road swing alone atop the AL East despite going 3-2.

"This is the best West Coast trip we've had in a long time,'' said Aaron Hill, who had two hits and a ninth-inning RBI. "Hopefully we can keep this momentum going. Whenever we come on this West Coast trip, we've had some interesting games, and not always good games. It's nice to come out here and actually do some damage.''

Injuries forced the Blue Jays to reconfigure their rotation recently, but the replacements have been phenomenal so far. Cecil followed up reliever Brian Tallet's outstanding seven-inning start Saturday with a gem of his own, allowing none of Oakland's seven baserunners to reach third.

Cecil, a supplemental first-round pick in 2007, pitched six strong innings in his major league debut in Toronto last Tuesday. He didn't get a game ball from his first win, but he expects to find one to send back home to his parents in Maryland.

"I've got 100 text messages to read right now,'' he said.

"I didn't have my best stuff early, but as the game went on, I got a little better control, got a lot of groundballs.''

Either Cecil or Tallet likely won't have a rotation spot once the Blue Jays are fully healthy.

"We'll just go with whoever is pitching best,'' said manager Cito Gaston, noting both pitchers' history of success in the bullpen.

"It's going to be a tough decision, but that's all right. If they keep pitching that way, I'd like to make that decision.''

Oakland manager Bob Geren could only wish for such problems.

Dallas Braden (3-4) gave up nine hits and three runs in six innings for the A's, who have lost six of eight.

At 11-18 with the AL's worst offence in several categories, the A's have matched their second-worst start since moving to Oakland in 1968.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 11, 2009

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