I’d be out of work, but I’m starting to think the Jays might be better off playing all their remaining games on the road this season. Fresh off a 4-6 homestand, Toronto made it six straight on the road tonight in Tampa Bay, winning 6-5 over the Rays behind a four-run first and a solid outing from Brett Cecil in his first big league start of the year.
Cecil, stepping in with Brian Tallet being moved to the DL with forearm tightness, cruised early before running into some late trouble, eventually going six-and-two-thirds and giving up four runs. Aaron Hill also returned for the Jays after missing a couple weeks with a sore hamstring, hitting a solo homer in his first game since April 7.
Surprisingly, the Jays jumped all over Matt Garza, who came in 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA in 2010 and hadn’t given up a run to Toronto since 2006. Alright, not quite, but he’s actually been pretty dominant against us — 6-2 with a 0.81 ERA in nine starts over the past two seasons, to be exact. Anyway, Vernon Wells and Jose Bautista had RBI doubles and Alex Gonzalez drove in a pair with a single, giving Cecil & co. a lead they never looked back on — not a bad way to start a three-gamer against a division rival coming in with a 12-4 record.
Kevin Gregg got four outs for his fifth save of the season, coming on with two down in the eighth after Jason Frasor had another rough time holding a lead in check. Gregg stranded a pair by getting John Jaso to pop up and then worked around a two-out double by Carl Crawford to close things out in the ninth, catching Ben Zobrist looking at a 3-2 fastball to wrap it up.
The win runs Toronto’s record to 10-7, with a pair to go in Tampa Bay this weekend before coming home for Boston on Monday. Ricky Romero (1-1, 1.57) and Jeff Niemann (1-0, 2.93) slug it out for the 2009 AL Rookie of the Year Award tomorrow night in the middle game.