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TOR@CLE: Cecil dominates Tribe over six solid frames

CLEVELAND -- Brett Cecil stood at the edge of the dreaded big inning on more than one occasion on Saturday.

Every time he found himself there, Cecil buckled down and got some outs. Cecil earned his first win in nearly two months as the Blue Jays rolled to an 7-1 win over the Indians on Sunday at Progressive Field.

Cecil's previous victory came on April 15 against the Red Sox.

"It's great, you know," Cecil said. "Like I said, my confidence is back up. I have confidence in myself."

Right away, the Tribe seemed to have Cecil (2-4) on the ropes. Cecil walked two of the first three batters he faced before Carlos Santana singled to load the bases, bringing Grady Sizemore to the plate.

Things could have started slipping away from Cecil right there. For about a month, earlier this season, that kind of thing happened to Cecil with some regularity, which is what got him demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas on April 21.

"The key to him is throwing it downhill through the bottom of the zone," Toronto manager John Farrell said. "It makes his changeup that much more effective. That was the case in the second through the sixth."

Sunday, making his third start since being recalled to Toronto, Cecil finally found a way to move past that, and it started against Sizemore.

Sizemore, not quite the feared hitter he once was, but still formidable, homered the night before off Brandon Morrow. Cecil got him on a weak popup to Jose Bautista.

Two outs.

That brought Austin Kearns to the plate. Kearns hit Cecil's second pitch right at second baseman Aaron Hill, who easily threw out Kearns.

Crisis averted.

"I know I can throw strikes, but I think it really shows when any pitcher walks two guys in an inning, gives up a couple of hits in an inning and somehow you work out of it," Cecil said. "I think that's where confidence comes in. I found myself in that position a lot today. [Getting out of jams] just keeps building confidence."

Before Cecil faced his second trial, in the fourth inning, he got a little bit of wiggle room.

On their second turn through the order, the Blue Jays exploded with a five-run third inning, making it a short day for right-hander Carlos Carrasco (8-6).

Carrasco struck out four in the first two innings, but in the third, he came undone.

Yunel Escobar led off the third with a base hit, and Eric Thames followed him with a homer to right field. Carrasco looked lost, and even after getting two outs in the middle of the rally, he later gave up an RBI single to J.P. Arencibia before Corey Patterson knocked in two more runs with a ground-rule double.

"I didn't throw too many fastballs today," Carrasco said. "I felt like I threw too many sliders, changeups and curveballs. I don't know what happened, but my fastball wasn't really good. For that time, I had to use my breaking stuff to see if I could get out of that inning."

Once the Blue Jay hitters realized that Carrasco had lost his mojo after the second inning, the hits began to snowball.

"I think the third inning, we just were looking for a good pitch," Thames said. "We got a good pitch, and we didn't miss it."

The Blue Jays gave Cecil a five-run cushion to work with, but he didn't take any chances the next time the Indians threatened.

In the fourth, Cecil had runners at the corners with just one out after giving up consecutive hits to Lou Marson and Luis Valbuena. That brought Jack Hannahan to the plate with a chance to cut into Toronto's lead.

Cecil got Hannahan swinging for strike three when the third baseman chased a curveball. That brought Indians leadoff hitter Michael Brantley into the box. Brantley hit a hard liner to Escobar.

Crisis averted, again.

"Sometimes you have to dig deep, see what you're made of and make pitches," Cecil said. "It's a little bit unfortunate I had to do it a lot today, but I'll take them [any way] I can get them."

The Indians even came up short the third time they put Cecil on the ropes. In the sixth, Sizemore reached on an Adam Lind error and Kearns singled. Cecil retired the next two he faced before Hannahan came through with a single that scored Sizemore.

Just like he did against Brantley with trouble brewing in the fourth, though, Cecil made Brantley, who followed Hannahan to the plate, hit one to Escobar, who easily threw Brantley out at first.

The total damage against Cecil was minimal -- six hits and three walks in six innings of work with no earned runs allowed. Lind's error meant that Sizemore's run didn't count against Cecil, who struck out six Tribe hitters.

Even though he lost in his previous start, Cecil pitched well enough last time out to give himself some confidence. Now that he has another win under his belt, he heads into the All-Star break with some solid momentum, just like his team.

The Blue Jays were struggling as the series in Cleveland began, and now, they have won three in a row.

Bautista and Thames each had two hits for Toronto, and Luis Perez pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Cecil before handing it over to Jason Frasor, who pitched the ninth. Comments