Toronto at Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay
W: B. Cecil (1-0) L: M. Garza (3-1)
S: K. Gregg (5)
HR: TOR - A. Hill (1)   TB - W. Aybar (2), G. Kapler (1)

Cecil gets job done in season debut for victorious Jays wire reports

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Brett Cecil got key early offensive support and then helped the Toronto Blue Jays stay hot away from home.

Cecil pitched into the seventh inning in his first appearance of the season, Alex Gonzalez had two RBI during a four-run first and the Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-5 on Friday night.

"That's awesome. Anytime you get a 4-0 lead, it definitely takes a lot of pressure off," Cecil said.

Cecil (1-0), recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas to replace the injured Brian Tallet (left forearm tightness), gave up four runs, six hits, one walk and struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings. The left-hander departed after allowing Gabe Kapler's two-run homer in the seventh that got Tampa Bay within 6-4.

"Cecil pitched a great ballgame for us," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "He gave up four runs, but he stopped that offense over there. He just went out and did his thing."

Vernon Wells hit an RBI double, Gonzalez drove in two with a single and Jose Bautista added a run-scoring double as the Blue Jays took a 4-0 lead in the first. Toronto has won six straight road games, which equals the Blue Jays' best stretch since a six-game run in Sept. 2003.

"It's a team win. It was a tough win," Gaston said. "They (Tampa Bay) just keep coming at you."

Matt Garza (3-1) allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings for the Rays, who returned home after completing a 9-1 road trip. The right-hander had given up just three runs -- two earned -- over 24 innings in his previous three starts this season.

"Coming into this year, I've had good success against these guys," Garza said. "Tonight they just came out a little bit hungrier than I did. They just had a mission on their faces. You score five runs in game, you should win. I didn't do my job."

B.J. Upton's RBI single in the eighth cut the Rays deficit to 6-5.

Kevin Gregg pitched the final 1 1/3 innings for his fifth save. After allowing a two-out double in the ninth to Carl Crawford, the right-hander then struck out Ben Zobrist.

Toronto loaded the bases with two outs in the second, but failed to score when Gonzalez grounded out. Lyle Overbay's RBI double made it 5-0 during the fourth.

Willy Aybar had a fifth-inning solo homer off Cecil. Zobrist hit a run-scoring double one inning later.

Toronto's Aaron Hill hit a solo homer during the sixth in his first game since being sidelined April 8 by right hamstring tightness.

Tampa Bay catcher Dioner Navarro was ejected in the sixth by plate umpire Dan Bellino for arguing about a pitch to Adam Lind that was called a ball. TV replays appeared to show the call was correct and that Navarro may have bumped into Bellino.

"I kind of lost my composure," Navarro said. "I can't be doing that, arguing balls and strikes. They're good (the umpires), they're doing a great job. But it was just that moment I lost it."

  • Garza threw 41 pitches during the first. He finished with six strikeouts and four walks.
  • Rays LHP J.P. Howell (left shoulder strain) plans to throw off a mound early next week. The reliever is expected to be out until mid to late May.
  • Cuban SS prospect Adeiny Hechavarria is set to play for Toronto's extended spring training team this weekend. The 21-year old agreed to a $10 million, four-year contract with the Blue Jays earlier this month.
  • Tampa Bay dropped to 8-1 when scoring five or more runs this season.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Brett Cecil gives up four runs, but he strikes out eight and lasts into the seventh inning. (AP)
Brett Cecil gives up four runs, but he strikes out eight and lasts into the seventh inning. (AP)

Players of the Game

B. Cecil
IP 6.2
H 6
ER 4
BB 1
K 8
Tampa Bay

G. Kapler
AB 3
R 2
H 1
HR 1

Related Video

February 24, 2017
2017 AL East Preview: Toronto Blue Jays (3:22)
Toronto Blue Jays
Fred Lewis, LF4120112 .250
Aaron Hill, 2B4111112 .167
Adam Lind, DH3100222 .277
Vernon Wells, CF5221004 .344
Lyle Overbay, 1B4011124 .127
Alex Gonzalez, SS5122024 .292
Jose Bautista, 3B5031001 .238
John Buck, C4000033 .178
Travis Snider, RF4000014 .132
2B - Fred Lewis (3, Choate), Vernon Wells (7, Garza), Lyle Overbay (4, Garza), Jose Bautista 3 (7, Garza, Garza, Garza)
HR - Aaron Hill (1, Balfour)
RBI - Aaron Hill (1), Vernon Wells (13), Lyle Overbay (4), Alex Gonzalez 2 (13), Jose Bautista (12)
2-OUT RBI - Lyle Overbay (2), Alex Gonzalez 2 (4), Jose Bautista (8)
SB - Jose Bautista (2, 3rd base off Garza/Navarro)
Team LOB - 11
Toronto Blue Jays
Brett Cecil (W,1-0) 6.2644182 5.40
Scott Downs (H,5) 0.1100000 2.57
Jason Frasor (H,2) 0.2111200 5.63
Kevin Gregg (S,5) 1.1100020 1.17
Pitches-Strikes - Brett Cecil 94-60, Scott Downs 5-3, Jason Frasor 20-9, Kevin Gregg 23-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brett Cecil 3-9, Scott Downs 1-0, Jason Frasor 1-1, Kevin Gregg 1-1
Batters Faced - Brett Cecil 27, Scott Downs 2, Jason Frasor 5, Kevin Gregg 5
Tampa Bay Rays
Jason Bartlett, SS5010031 .239
Carl Crawford, LF5010002 .328
Ben Zobrist, 2B4111131 .258
Evan Longoria, 3B4020011 .297
Carlos Pena, 1B4000024 .250
B.J. Upton, CF4011001 .246
Willy Aybar, DH3221101 .211
    Sean Rodriguez, PR-DH0000000 .233
Dioner Navarro, C2000000 .136
    John Jaso, C2000013 .333
Gabe Kapler, RF3212100 .190
2B - Carl Crawford (6, Gregg), Ben Zobrist (6, Cecil)
HR - Willy Aybar (2, Cecil), Gabe Kapler (1, Cecil)
RBI - Ben Zobrist (7), B.J. Upton (14), Willy Aybar (3), Gabe Kapler 2 (4)
2-OUT RBI - Ben Zobrist (3), B.J. Upton (10), Willy Aybar (1), Gabe Kapler 2 (2)
SB - Ben Zobrist (5, 2nd base off Frasor/Buck), B.J. Upton (4, 2nd base off Frasor/Buck)
Team LOB - 7
Tampa Bay Rays
Matt Garza (L,3-1) 5855460 2.17
Grant Balfour 1111021 1.93
Dan Wheeler 0.2100000 3.00
Randy Choate 0.2100120 17.18
Lance Cormier 0.2000000 2.16
Rafael Soriano 1000020 2.57
IBB - Hill by Randy Choate
HBP - Buck (by Matt Garza)
WP - Matt Garza (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Garza 102-68, Grant Balfour 20-14, Dan Wheeler 8-6, Randy Choate 15-9, Lance Cormier 2-2, Rafael Soriano 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Garza 3-6, Grant Balfour 1-0, Lance Cormier 1-1
Batters Faced - Matt Garza 28, Grant Balfour 4, Dan Wheeler 3, Randy Choate 4, Lance Cormier 2, Rafael Soriano 3
Game Information
Attendance - 22056
Game Time - 3:15
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Dan Bellino, First Base - Jerry Layne, Second Base - Mike Winters, Third Base - Hunter Wendelstedt