Blue Jays 6, Rays 5
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 RBIs 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.''
NOTES: 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.