Cecil's great escape act sets up extra heroics

Blue Jays reliever recovers to foil Rays' threat in ninth to help secure sweep

Cecil's great escape act sets up extra heroics

ST. PETERSBURG -- Colby Rasmus will get most of the attention from Thursday night's 1-0 victory over the Rays, but left-hander Brett Cecil was responsible for the turning point at Tropicana Field.

Cecil entered during the ninth inning of a scoreless ballgame and surrendered singles to the first two batters he faced. That put runners on the corners with none out and it seemed Tampa Bay was poised to come away with the walk-off victory. But Cecil had other plans.

The 28-year-old struck out Brandon Guyer, but Cecil's troubles were far from over as he intentionally walked Evan Longoria to load the bases with one out. All Tampa Bay needed was a fly ball to the outfield but instead, Cecil bounced back by striking out Logan Forsythe and Sean Rodriguez to end the inning.

"Did my best to try to force a ground ball to somebody and turn two, and be out of there with 15-16 pitches, but got a chance to punch them out and did my best to do that instead," Cecil said.

Cecil's strong inning allowed the game to continue. Rasmus provided the go-ahead homer in the top of the 10th inning, which gave Cecil his second win of the season.

Cecil, a Maryland native, hasn't allowed an earned run since Aug. 2. Since that time, he has tossed 12 1/3 scoreless innings while yielding seven hits and three walks with 20 strikeouts.

"He's got one of the better curveballs you're going to see in Major League Baseball," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "You get the big strikeout of Guyer there, which allows you to walk Longoria, who's as tough as anybody out there, and he just made big pitches."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.