Coming up empty on a pair of small-ball opportunities proved costly for the Texas Rangers.
J.P. Arencibia hit a three-run homer, Brett Cecil beat All-Star Alexi Ogando for the second straight start and the Toronto Blue Jays edged the Rangers 3-2 Friday night.
"They had one good inning where they put up three, we had two good innings where we put up one," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "It was execution tonight."
Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli homered for the Rangers, who lost for the third time in four games and saw Cruz leave in the fifth inning with tightness in his left quadriceps.
Texas put runners at the corners with one out in the fourth, but Mitch Moreland fouled out and Yorvit Torrealba struck out.
The Rangers threatened again in the sixth, when Josh Hamilton and Michael Young opened the inning with consecutive singles. With Endy Chavez batting in Cruz's spot, Hamilton was forced at third on a failed sacrifice bunt. The inning ended when Napoli popped up and Moreland grounded out.
"It's those little things that usually come back to haunt you and they came back and haunted us tonight," Washington said.
Young said the Rangers need to work harder at moving runners over and coming through in scoring opportunities. Texas went 1 for 9 with men in scoring position and stranded eight runners.
"It's tough to sit there and try and go double, double, homer, double," Young said. "Those things just happen naturally. For us, we have to bear down on the fundamental parts of the game, not try and do too much. That's a common theme for us, at least it was tonight."
For Cecil, getting the out at third on Chavez's bunt was successful execution of a well-rehearsed play.
"It's a big play," Cecil said. "We practice that more than anything at spring training. So it's like second nature."
Cecil (4-4) pitched a four-hitter in Toronto's 3-0 victory at Arlington last Sunday and was sharp again in this one. The left-hander allowed one run and seven hits in seven innings to win consecutive starts for the first time this season.
"The guy has got tremendous off-speed stuff," Washington said. "We knew that and we still couldn't stay back like we should have."
Frank Francisco worked the eighth and Jon Rauch pitched around Napoli's homer to close it out for his ninth save in 13 opportunities.
Demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas in late April following a rough start to the season, Cecil is 3-2 with a 3.32 ERA in six starts since rejoining Toronto's rotation on June 30.
Edwin Encarnacion went 2 for 2 with two walks for the Blue Jays, who have won three straight and seven of 10 overall.
The AL West-leading Rangers had won 11 straight series openers, but failed to extend that streak in their first visit to Toronto this season.
Cruz got Texas on the board with a leadoff drive to left in the second for his team-leading 23rd homer, snapping Cecil's stretch of 15 consecutive scoreless innings. Cruz has three homers and 12 RBIs in eight games against the Blue Jays this season.
Cruz went 1 for 2 before being replaced by Chavez in the fifth. Cruz is day-to-day, but Washington said he might give him the rest of the weekend off to avoid aggravating the injury on Toronto's artificial surface.
"I wasn't taking any chances, especially on this turf," Washington said. "He passed all the tests, his strength is good, just not going to take any chances on this turf. The shocks stay inside your body."
David Murphy moved from left to right, Hamilton went from center to left and Chavez took over in center after Cruz left.
Ogando set down nine of his first 10 batters, but the Blue Jays grabbed control in the fifth.
Aaron Hill reached on an infield single and Travis Snider singled to left before Arencibia mashed a slider into the left field bullpen for his 17th homer.
"It kind of fooled me a little bit because he throws hard and you've really got to sit on the fastball," Arencibia said. "I was able to still get my hands extended and drive it out of the park."
Napoli's leadoff drive in the ninth was his 14th.
Ogando (10-5) allowed three runs and four hits in 5 2-3 innings. He walked a season-high four and struck out four.
Texas had won nine of 13 away from home coming in but fell below .500 on the road at 25-26.