|Toronto Blue Jays' Colby Rasmus, right, celebrates a two-run home run with Brett Lawrie who also scored against the Philadelphia Phillies during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, June 17, 2012, in Toronto. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Aaron Vincent Elkaim)|
Rasmus leads Blue Jays to sweep of Phillies
TORONTO—Hitting second in the order certainly appears to suit Colby Rasmus.
Rasmus hit a two-run homer, Brett Cecil won for the first time in almost a year and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Phillies 6-2 Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.
Rasmus went 3 for 4 with three RBIs, scored twice and came within a triple of the cycle as the Blue Jays swept the Phillies for the second time in team history; they also swept a three-game series at Philadelphia in 2009.
"To get a sweep is a good positive thing," Rasmus said.
The key player acquired by Toronto in a three-team trade with St. Louis and the Chicago White Sox last July, Rasmus is batting .356 with seven homers and 18 RBIs in 15 games in the two-hole this season. He hit just .211 in other spots in the order.
Rasmus' father Tony was one of 13 Blue Jays whose dads were flown in for a special Father's Day celebration.
"It was important to me," the younger Rasmus said. "It's always good having your dad in town and to have him here on Father's Day is a great thing."
Slumping Philadelphia, last in the NL East, lost for the 12th time in 15 games.
"We know what we have to do but getting it done is another thing," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We've just got to play better."
Starting for the first time this season after being promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas last week, the left-handed Cecil (1-0) allowed two runs and five hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out five.
"My curveball has gotten a lot better, it's a lot tighter," Cecil said. "That, and being able to control the ball a lot better with all my pitches and throwing to both sides of the plate."
Cecil went 4-11 in 20 starts last season, then struggled with command and velocity this spring after losing more than 30 pounds in offseason conditioning. He was demoted to Double-A on the final day of spring training, one day after a rough outing against Detroit. He hadn't won since last July 29 against Texas.
"What we had hoped to see," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "He pitched with a lot more crispness than we last saw in spring training. He kept the game under control, he threw a lot of strikes and it was an encouraging outing for him."
Luis Perez worked three innings and Jason Frasor finished in the ninth for Toronto.
The Blue Jays jumped on Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick with two runs in the bottom of the first. Brett Lawrie and Rasmus opened the inning with back-to-back doubles and Jose Bautista walked but was picked off. Edwin Encarnacion struck out before Kelly Johnson grounded an RBI single up the middle.
Thome cut the lead in half when he led off the second with a home run to right, his fourth.
Thome's long ball was his 100th with Philadelphia, making him the fourth player in major league history to hit at least 100 home runs with three different teams (including Cleveland and Chicago). Darrel Evans (Atlanta, San Francisco and Detroit), Reggie Jackson (California, Oakland and New York) and Alex Rodriguez (Seattle, Texas and New York) are the others.
"It is special," Thome said. "You look at Philadelphia, you look at Chicago, you look at Cleveland, they're all great baseball cities. And to do that with the Phillies is special, no doubt. I think it's something to be proud of, you just wish you could have won the ballgame."
John Mayberry Jr. tied it with a homer to begin the third, his fifth and second in two days.
The Blue Jays reclaimed the lead in the fourth on a two-out RBI single by Rajai Davis, with Yunel Escobar scoring from second base.
Lawrie walked to begin the fifth and Rasmus followed with a booming home run into the second deck in right, his 10th.
"It was right on his swing path, down and in," Kendrick said, "A perfect ball for him to run into."
Kendrick (2-7), who lost his third straight start, allowed six runs, five earned, and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings. He walked two and struck out four.
Philadelphia catcher Carlos Ruiz returned to the lineup, two days after leaving Friday's game after six innings with a strained muscle in his left side. Ruiz went 0 for 4 and struck out looking twice.
NOTES: Thome's homer was the 608th of his career, moving him one behind Sammy Sosa on the career list. ... The Blue Jays marked Father's Day by flying the fathers of 13 players to Toronto for the game. ... Attendance was 45,060, Toronto's biggest crowd since opening day. ... The Phillies are off Monday, while the Blue Jays begin a three-game series at Milwaukee. RHP Henderson Alvarez (3-6) faces LHP Randy Wolf (2-5) in the opener.