ARLINGTON -- The last time the Rangers saw Blue Jays left-hander Brett Cecil was on May 10, 2010, in Toronto. They scored eight runs off him in two innings.That was the shortest outing in his Major League career. This was his best. Cecil, pounding the Rangers with his sinker and changeup, held them to just four singles and two walks over nine innings in pitching the Blue Jays to a 3-0 victory on Sunday night at the Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers still took two out of three from the Blue Jays, but the loss left them three games ahead of the Angels in the American League West. "We're playing good baseball, we just didn't get the job done tonight," Rangers third baseman Michael Young said. Cecil, a 15-game winner last season, entered the game 2-4 with a 5.59 ERA in eight starts. Four were made before he was banished to Triple-A in April with a 6.86 ERA because of a lack of velocity. This was the first shutout in 54 career starts. "It was still Brett Cecil's night," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "You can get shut out by anybody if he's good and he's making pitches. If he's a Major League pitcher, there are going to be times when he pitches a heck of a game, and tonight was his night." Lack of velocity was not a problem for Cecil. He was hitting 93 mph with his sinker in the ninth inning and complementing that pitch with an effective changeup all night. He just simply kept the Rangers off-balance, getting them to lunge at the changeup and then throwing the sinker past them when they adjusted. "Just an outstanding performance by Brett tonight," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "He did a great job right from the first inning on. He had a very good changeup, which when he's down with that downward plane it makes the deception on the changeup that much better." Rangers starter Alexi Ogando matched Cecil for five innings. But then the Blue Jays scored three off him in the sixth and that was the ballgame. Ogando, who went 6 2/3 innings, is now 10-4 with a 2.79 ERA. "After the sixth inning, he just hit a wall and ran out of gas," Washington said. "They worked him pretty good, but I'll take three runs off him every night." Ogando had allowed just three singles to that point. Yunel Escobar, the Blue Jays' leadoff hitter, had two of the three, and he led off the sixth with a single to right. After Eric Thames flied to right, Jose Bautista put the Blue Jays on the scoreboard with a double to left that brought home Escobar. Adam Lind then flied out, but Edwin Encarnacion doubled to center to bring home a second run, and Travis Snider doubled down the right-field line to make it 3-0. "I was just making the same pitches," Ogando said. "They made adjustments to what I was throwing and they hit it. The other pitcher was good and we couldn't hit him. Sometimes it happens." Craig Gentry had two of the Rangers' four hits with a bunt single in the third and a single to left in the eighth. Young had a second-inning single and Nelson Cruz beat out a slow grounder in the ninth. Cecil also walked two but struck out seven and allowed the Rangers only two at-bats with runners in scoring position. Gentry moved to second in the eighth inning when Mitch Moreland flied out to deep left-center, but Ian Kinsler flied to right and Elvis Andrus struck out looking to end the inning. "He threw well and you have to give credit when credit is due," Young said. "We still have to find a way to score runs no matter what is going on. It's our job to find a way to score and we didn't do that." Moreland had a particularly interesting night. He came up in the bottom of the third with nobody out and Gentry on first, and hit a long drive to left field. But the wind knocked it down and Snider made a twisting catch right up against the wall. "I hit that one pretty good," Moreland said. Despite that, the Blue Jays put the drastic left-handed shift on Moreland with three infielders on the right side, though third baseman Bautista was actually in short right field. That paid off as Bautista made a diving catch in almost medium right field off Moreland to start the sixth. "That's the first time I've ever seen that kind of a shift," Moreland said.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.