- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 11, 2009

BALTIMORE | His work done, Brett Cecil joined friends and family to watch the postgame fireworks display at Camden Yards.

Cecil outpitched Jason Berken in a duel of struggling rookies, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 2-0 on Friday night to snap a three-game skid.

Cecil allowed four hits in six innings to earn his first win in five starts since May 15. It was a delightful homecoming for Cecil, who grew up in Dunkirk, Md., and played for Maryland before being drafted by Toronto in 2007.

“I only left 15 tickets but… there’s a ton more people that came,” the left-hander said. “I saw guys up there that I haven’t seen in a while that came down to congratulate me. I love coming home to play.”

Cecil came in with a 6.23 ERA and yielded 12 runs in his previous two starts, but he had no trouble against the Orioles.

“Playing in front of the home crowd was awesome,” he said. “I heard a lot of people out there.”

Scott Downs, the fourth Blue Jays reliever, worked a perfect ninth for his ninth save.

Berken gave up two runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander lowered his ERA from 6.25 to 5.87 but remained winless since beating Toronto in his first major league start May 26.

“I felt pretty good the way I threw the ball tonight,” Berken said.

But Cecil was better.

“It happens sometimes,” Berken said. “Brett threw really well tonight. You just tip your cap to him.”

Both teams were without their managers. Baltimore’s Dave Trembley started a two-game suspension for actions following his ejection in Seattle on Tuesday night, and Toronto’s Cito Gaston left to attend the funeral of his sister. Dave Jauss replaced Trembley, and Brian Butterfield took over for Gaston.

Asked how it felt to watch in the stands, Trembley replied, “I’d rather go to the dentist. That’s tough. We got one done. Now I’ve got one more to go.”

Alex Rios hit two doubles and scored a run for Toronto, but Scott Rolen’s 25-game hitting streak ended with an 0-for-4 performance. That might have been the only downer on a night in which the Blue Jays won for only the third time in 13 games. The slide dropped Toronto under .500 for the first time this season.

“I think [we] continue to show a lot of resiliency,” Butterfield said. “You can feel good about the players in this clubhouse, you feel good about the leadership in this clubhouse, you feel good about the leadership that Cito provides. So it’s definitely a great win in a tough division.”

The Blue Jays broke open a scoreless game with a two-run sixth. Lyle Overbay ended a 3-for-37 skid with a leadoff single and went to third on a double by Rios. Dave Dellucci followed with an RBI groundout, and Raul Chavez doubled in a run.

“If we would have said Berken would get us that late in the game and given up two runs, we would have taken it,” Trembley said. “He pitched great. We didn’t score any runs. That’s the game.”

Toronto used a walk and a two-out double by Rios to put runners on second and third in the second, but Berken got Dellucci to ground out. Baltimore loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom half before Cesar Izturis grounded out.

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