Romero gets 11th win as Angels lose for third time in four games

TORONTO -- Ricky Romero picked a nice time to break out of a slump.

Romero won for the first time in four starts, Travis Snider hit a solo homer and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Los Angeles Angels 8-3 on Sunday.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Romero went to college at Cal State Fullerton, a short drive from Angels Stadium.

"I went to school in Orange County and there's a lot of Angels fans there," Romero said. "I actually had a lot of people watching back home. It was a special day for me and I had a lot of phone calls from my mom telling me that everyone was going to be watching."

Snider went 3 for 3 with a walk as the Blue Jays earned a split in their eight-game season series with the Angels. Toronto has lost the season series just once in the past seven years.

The AL West-leading Angels have lost three of four following a five-game winning streak and are 10-18 in Toronto since the start of the 2003 season.

For the second time in three games, the Blue Jays pounded an Angels rookie, chasing Trevor Bell in the second.

Making just his third major league start, Bell (1-1) allowed six runs and six hits in 1 2/3 innings. The right-hander walked four, one intentionally, and struck out two.

"We're just going to have to turn the page on this one for Trevor," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He just didn't have the command that he usually has and wasn't throwing enough strikes. When he was coming back into counts, those guys were ready for it."

Bell beat Cleveland for his first career win in his last outing but quickly got into trouble in this one. Lyle Overbay hit an RBI double and Vernon Wells and Jose Bautista added run-scoring singles in Toronto's three-run first.

Bell was replaced by Rafael Rodriguez after Randy Ruiz made it 6-0 with a bases-loaded double in the second.

"It was just the small things today, like leaving the ball up and getting behind in counts," Bell said. "The two things I talked about a couple of days ago that you can't do up here is exactly what I did today."

On Friday, Angels rookie Sean O'Sullivan was tagged for four runs in 1 1/3 innings. The righty was demoted to Triple-A Salt Lake the following day.

With left-hander Joe Saunders (shoulder) expected back from the disabled list Wednesday, joining veterans John Lackey, Jered Weaver and Ervin Santana in the rotation, Scioscia's only struggle is finding a reliable arm for the fifth slot.

"We need somebody that's going to go out there and give us a chance to win like the other four guys need to," Scioscia said.

"Today was obviously not what we would have hoped."

Scioscia said Matt Palmer, 9-1 in 29 games, including 12 starts, could move back into the rotation as the Angels try to win their third division title in as many years.

Romero (11-5) moved into a tie with Tampa Bay's Jeff Niemann for the AL rookie lead in wins by allowing two runs and eight hits in six innings.

"I was definitely impressed," Angels outfielder Torii Hunter said. "He's got a live fastball, a good short arm and good motion with his changeup, like Johan Santana."

Romero said he's heard his name mentioned as a candidate for the Rookie of the Year award but is trying to tune out such talk.

"If I win it, it's going to be an unbelievable accomplishment for me personally," Romero said. "I've just got to take it start by start."

Snider hit a leadoff homer to left in the third, his fifth, and Marco Scutaro made it 8-0 with an RBI single in the fifth.

Kendry Morales, Erick Aybar and Juan Rivera had run-scoring singles for the Angels, who finished with 12 hits.

Game notes
Blue Jays LHP Scott Downs, out since Aug. 2 with a sore big toe on his left foot, rejoined the team and could be activated off the 15-day disabled list Monday. Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said he likely will ease Downs back into the closer's role. ... Scioscia said Palmer is a candidate to start Wednesday against Detroit if Saunders is not ready to come off the DL. Saunders is scheduled to throw a bullpen session when the Angels return home Monday. ... Angels DH Vladimir Guerrero fouled off a pitch that bounced in the dirt in the ninth. ... Romero is the second Southern California pitcher to beat the Angels in this series. Toronto lefty Marc Rzepczynski, from Yorba Linda, won Friday's opener.