Lefty Brett Cecil can get the Toronto Blue Jays back over .500 tonight when they host the Kansas City Royals in the second portion of a four-game series at Rogers Centre.
The hosts dropped back to 40-40 after Monday's series opener, when Mike Moustakas hit his first career grand slam and drove in a total of five runs, helping the Royals dominate the Blue Jays, 11-3.
Salvador Perez added a two-run homer and two runs scored for the Royals, who snapped a three-game skid. Yuniesky Betancourt had two RBI and two runs scored.
Everett Teaford (1-1) allowed three runs on five hits over seven innings to pick up his first win of the season. He struck out two and walked two.
Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista hit solo homers for the Blue Jays, who have lost five of seven and fallen 8 1/2 games off the pace of the front-running New York Yankees in the American League East Division.
Ricky Romero (8-3), who came into the game with a 5-0 mark at home, gave up eight runs on 11 hits over six-plus frames. He struck out four and walked three.
"I thought he attacked the zone much more aggressively tonight," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "But when he got ahead in the count, the ability to put the hitter away and really limit any kind of multi-run inning, especially the second through the fourth, was a little bit elusive."
Cecil, who won 15 games in 28 starts in 2010, slumped to 4-11 in 20 starts last season before beginning this year with a prolonged stint in the minor leagues.
He was 4-2 in 10 starts at Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Las Vegas, while allowing 55 hits and striking out 40 batters in 49 1/3 innings.
He made his 2012 maj0r-league debut on June 17 and defeated Philadelphia, with five innings of two-run ball. In two starts since, against Miami and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, he's allowed 15 hits and nine runs in 11 1/3 innings.
Cecil is 0-1 in two career meetings with the Royals.
Kansas City replies with righty Vin Mazzaro, who makes his first start since allowing seven runs in just 1 1/3 innings of an 11-4 loss to St. Louis on June 22.
The 25-year-old New Jersey native made one relief appearance since the blowout loss and pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings of two-hit ball in the Royals' 7-2 loss at Minnesota on June 30.
He's dropped both career starts against Toronto while giving up 13 runs on 18 hits in 10 innings, permitting an opposing batting average of exactly .400.
In 266 2/3 big-league innings, batters are hitting .297 against Mazzaro.
The Blue Jays dropped the season series to the Royals in 2011, four games to three. Toronto last won the season series in 2008.