Cecil retires 15 straight after giving up four runs as Blue Jays edge A's

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Aaron Hill doesn't consider himself one of the American League's top power hitters even though he's near the top of the home run list.

Hill's 25th homer -- a three-run shot- was the key blow in the Toronto Blue Jays' 6-5 win over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night.

Hill now trails only Justin Morneau (27), Mark Teixeira (26) and Carlos Pena (26) among the leading home run hitters in the league.

"Don't put me in that category," the Blue Jays All-Star second baseman said. "Those guys are proven home run hitters. I'm just lucky. I keep trying to hit line drives and sometimes they go out of the ballpark."

Hill had four RBIs, including a run-scoring single in the second and a go-ahead homer in the fourth, to provide the bulk of the Blue Jays offense.

"I can't say enough about him," manager Cito Gaston said. "I still think he can get better, believe it or not. There are some things I'd like to see him do. I'd like to see him sit on his pitch and not go after every pitch when he's up there."

While Hill provided the offense, rookie left-hander Brett Cecil picked up the victory with six good innings and one bad one. Cecil (5-1) gave up four runs in the second, but nothing else. He retired 15 consecutive hitters after Adam Kennedy's three-run double in the second gave the A's a brief 4-3 lead.

Hill said he simply stopped throwing so many fastballs.

"They were sitting on the fastball," Cecil said. "In the third inning, I didn't throw one fastball the whole time... After [the second] I felt like a different pitcher."

The Toronto bullpen secured the victory, but not without a couple scares, one on the scoreboard and one on the field.

Closer Scott Downs took the mound in the ninth with a 6-4 lead. He retired the first hitter, but then Jack Cust lined a ball off his left toe. The ball dribbled away for an infield single. Tommy Everidge then lined a double into right field. Gaston then brought the trainer to the mound to have a look at Downs, who had been on the disabled list with an injury to his left toe last month. Gaston said Downs had aggravated the injury. He'll be re-evaluated on Sunday.

Jason Frasor entered with the potential tying run at second. He got pinch-hitter Nomar Garciaparra on a bouncer back to the mound for the second out, as a run scored. Frasor ended the game, stranding the potential tying run at third, by striking out pinch-hitter Ryan Sweeney. It was Frasor's fourth save.

The loss disappointed a sellout crowd of 35,067 on Rickey Henderson Night. The A's retired the No. 24 for the recently inducted Hall of Famer.

The game matched a couple of rookie pitchers headed in opposite directions. Cecil, who was just drafted in 2007, came into the game having allowed only one run in his previous 20 innings. A's right-hander Trevor Cahill, who was impressive enough in the spring to win a rotation spot at age 21, had a 7.98 ERA over his previous seven starts.

Both pitchers were shaky early, but Cecil righted himself and Cahill (6-10) didn't.

"Just the fact that when I get behind guys, they're able to look for a pitch," Cahill said. "[When I] try to bring a fastball, they're looking for it, and that usually leads to more home runs. Overbay was ahead 3-1 and he was just looking for a fastball."

Game notes
A's 1B Jason Giambi, who is on the disabled list with a strained right quad, is back with the team and said he'll be ready to be activated when he's eligible on Tuesday. "I feel great," said Giambi, who was rehabbing at his home in Las Vegas. Giambi said he's been hitting, running and throwing. ... OF Scott Hairston returned to the A's lineup after missing the past four games with tightness in his left quad. ... 3B Edwin Encarnacion and RHP Josh Roenicke joined the Blue Jays, a day after they were acquired from the Reds in the Scott Rolen trade. Encarnacion was in the starting lineup, batting seventh. ... With his 25th homer, Hill became the first American League second baseman to reach that milestone since Alfonso Soriano in 2005.