TORONTO (AP) - A new-look windup is working wonders for Blue Jays left-hander Brett Cecil.
J.P. Arencibia hit a three-run homer, Cecil beat All-Star Alexi Ogando for the second straight start and Toronto edged the Rangers 3-2 on Friday night.
Before Cecil's last start, pitching coach Bruce Walton suggested he lift his arms over his head while winding up. Cecil went on to beat Texas with a four-hit shutout.
Using the same delivery paid off again Friday.
``It's made it easier for me to get the ball down,' said Cecil (4-4), who allowed one run and seven hits in seven innings to win consecutive starts for the first time this season.
``The guy has got tremendous off-speed stuff,' Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Cecil. ``We knew that and we still couldn't stay back like we should have.'
Demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas in late April following a rough start to the season, Cecil is 3-2 with a 3.32 ERA in six starts since rejoining Toronto's rotation on June 30.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell said Cecil's newfound success is largely due to the mechanical adjustments he's made.
``He's had better energy in his delivery, he's had better location on his stuff down in the zone more consistently,' Farrell said. ``And it just allows his changeup to play that much better. He's got a swing and a miss changeup and he's not afraid to throw it in any count.'
Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli homered for the Rangers, who lost for the third time in four games and saw Cruz leave in the fifth inning with tightness in his left quadriceps muscle.
Coming up empty on a pair of small ball opportunities also proved costly for Texas, who put runners at the corners with one out in the fourth but came up empty when Mitch Moreland fouled out and Yorvit Torrealba struck out.
The Rangers threatened again in the sixth, when Josh Hamilton and Michael Young opened the inning with consecutive singles. With Chavez batting in Cruz's spot, Hamilton was forced at third on a failed sacrifice bunt. The inning ended when Napoli popped up and Moreland grounded out.
``It's those little things that usually come back to haunt you and they came back and haunted us tonight,' Washington said.
For Cecil, getting the out at third on Chavez's bunt was successful execution of a well-rehearsed play.
``It's a big play,' Cecil said. ``We practice that more than anything at spring training. So it's like second nature.'
Frank Francisco worked the eighth and Jon Rauch pitched around Napoli's homer to close it out for his ninth save in 13 opportunities.
Edwin Encarnacion went 2 for 2 with two walks for the Blue Jays, who have won three straight and seven of 10 overall.
The AL West-leading Rangers had won 11 straight series openers but failed to extend that streak in their first visit to Toronto this season.
Cruz got Texas on the board with a leadoff drive to left in the second for his team-leading 23rd homer, snapping Cecil's stretch of 15 consecutive scoreless innings. Cruz has three homers and 12 RBIs in eight games against the Blue Jays this season.
Cruz went 1 for 2 before being replaced by Chavez in the bottom of the fifth. Cruz is day-to-day, but Washington said he might give him the rest of the weekend off to avoid aggravating the injury on Toronto's artificial surface.
``I wasn't taking any chances, especially on this turf,' Washington said. ``He passed all the tests, his strength is good, just not going to take any chances on this turf. The shocks stay inside your body.'
David Murphy moved from left to right, Josh Hamilton went from center to left and Chavez took over in center after Cruz left.
Ogando set down nine of his first 10 batters, but the Blue Jays grabbed control in the fifth.
Aaron Hill reached on an infield single and Travis Snider singled to left before Arencibia mashed a slider into the left field bullpen for his 17th homer.
``It kind of fooled me a little bit because he throws hard and you've really got to sit on the fastball,' Arencibia said. ``I was able to still get my hands extended and drive it out of the park.'
Napoli's leadoff drive in the ninth was his 14th.
Ogando (10-5) allowed three runs and four hits in 5 2-3 innings. He walked a season-high four and struck out four.
Texas had won nine of 13 away from home coming in but fell below .500 on the road at 25-26.
NOTES: Blue Jays LHP Brad Mills makes his first start of the season Saturday, facing Rangers LHP Derek Holland. ... Rangers minor league RHP Joseph Wieland threw a no-hitter at San Antonio. Wieland walked one and struck out seven in a 3-0 victory for Double-A Frisco.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.