for this game

Blue Jays' Cecil returns to face the Pirates

Jun 30, 2011 - 2:32 PM (Sports Network) - Lefty Brett Cecil returns to the starting rotation for the first time since April tonight when the Toronto Blue Jays host the Pittsburgh Pirates to close out a three-game interleague series at Rogers Centre.

The teams have split the opening two games, with the hosts drawing even Wednesday when Yunel Escobar drove home the winner in the seventh and Brandon Morrow tossed seven strong innings in Toronto's 2-1 win.

Morrow (4-4) gave up just one run on four hits with three walks and 10 strikeouts for the Blue Jays, who had dropped their past two games. Eric Thames hit a solo homer in the sixth to account for Toronto's other run.

Ronny Cedeno went 2-for-3 with an RBI for the Pirates, who came into the game having won five of their past six. Paul Maholm (4-9) went seven innings and gave up two runs on nine hits to take the loss.

Cecil, who'll turn 25 on Saturday, won 15 games in 28 starts in a breakout season for the Blue Jays last year before starting slowly this time around with a 1-2 mark and 6.86 earned run average through his initial four starts.

He was sent to Triple-A Las Vegas to work on regaining his velocity and was 8-2 with a 5.26 ERA in 12 starts.

The supplemental draft pick in 2007 reached the majors and made 18 appearances in 2009, winning seven of 11 decisions and posting a 5.30 ERA. The last number dropped to 4.22 in 2010, when he tossed 172 2/3 innings and registered 117 strikeouts.

He has never faced the Pirates.

For Pittsburgh, righty Jeff Karstens tries to finish off June without a loss.

The 28-year-old San Diego native has made five starts in the month and is 2-0 while allowing just 22 hits and five earned runs across 33 2/3 innings.

The Pirates are 3-2 in those five starts but have scored just 11 runs while allowing 12.

Karstens earned win No. 5 of the season in his most recent start on June 25, allowing three earned runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings of a 6-4 win against Boston.

The former New York Yankees farmhand last lost on May 29 and is 2-0 lifetime against Toronto in four appearances.

The Pirates took two of three from the Blue Jays at home in 2008, but Toronto swept a three-game set in the last meeting north of the border in 2003.