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TOR@MIA: Cecil allows one run in six strong innings

J.P. Arencibia has been on fire at the plate recently, and helped the Blue Jays to a sweep in Boston over the weekend. But Arencibia and the Toronto offense have a whole new challenge when they face a dynamic A's staff on Tuesday.

Arencibia is hitting 13-for-38 (.342) in his last 12 games, with four home runs, three doubles and 11 RBIs. On Sunday, he moved up to fifth in the batting order and responded with a home run and four RBIs.

"That's where I want to be," Arencibia said. "It's one of the things I've always been able to do and throughout the season, regardless of what kind of streak I get into or anything like that, is if you look at my numbers, I've always hit better with runners in scoring position.

"I think sometimes lower in the lineup, it's tougher. Obviously, we have some good bats, but when I was moved up higher in the lineup, that's when I was able to win the Player of the Week and I was able to produce. I feel like I'm one of those guys."

But the A's won't make it easy, as their pitching staff holds a 2.62 ERA in its last 32 games. Travis Blackley gets the start for the A's in the series opener and has pitched well since joining the rotation on May 28, posting a 2-2 record and 2.86 ERA with the A's.

Manager Bob Melvin admitted he's a bit surprised Blackley is still starting for Oakland.

"We weren't even sure we were going to keep him here that long when we first got him, and then due to some injuries and a couple games out of the bullpen, got himself a start," Melvin said. "[He] hasn't come out of the rotation based on performance. I think each and every time he goes out there and does well, it builds confidence for him.

"He probably didn't forecast going into this season being in the position he's in right now. I would have to say it's a little bit of a surprise."

Blue Jays: Cecil looks for improvement
• Brett Cecil gets the start for Toronto and will try to improve on his 2-2 record and 6.34 ERA. Since being recalled in June, Cecil has allowed 37 hits in 32 2/3 innings and allowed seven home runs in six starts.

• Since injuring his right calf diving into a camera well pursuing a foul ball on Wednesday and missing a couple of games, Brett Lawrie is hitting 3-for-8 with three runs and four RBIs.

A's: Melvin won't change managing methods
• The A's enter their series with the Blue Jays tied for a Wild Card spot after starting July 14-2. It's quite the turnaround for Oakland, but Melvin said it doesn't change the way he manages.

"We're in July," he said. "Can't help but follow where the standings are, but when you talk about contention, we're talking about middle-to-late July right now. I think when you really as a team start looking at what you consider to be contention, it's more late August/September. Now, we're in a much better position than we were three weeks ago, and everybody feels good and confident about that. I think our focus is still on that particular day, try and use all our resources and focus on going out and winning today."

• The A's have won six of their last 11 home games via a walk-off after Coco Crisp singled home Derek Norris on Sunday in the 12th to beat the Yankees.

Worth noting
• The Blue Jays and A's split a two-game series in Oakland earlier this season.

• Blackley gave up six runs (five earned) in his five innings in his only career start against the Blue Jays, but that came back in 2004 with the Mariners. Edwin Encarnacion and Omar Vizquel are the only Toronto players to have faced Blackley, although both have just two plate appearances. Comments