TORONTO -- Ricky Romero's perfectionist streak would not allow him to be completely happy with eight innings of three-hit ball.
Romero (6-6) came within three outs of his third complete game as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-1 on Wednesday night.Despite his strong outing, Romero was unhappy about walking the first two batters he faced in the ninth inning before handing the ball to Frank Francisco to close it out."A bit of excitement, adrenaline and I wasn't able to slow myself down anymore," said Romero. "I kind of got out of my game a little bit. It's frustrating not getting it done but I'm glad Frankie came and did his job."Romero was charged with one earned run after Matt Wieters hit an RBI single off Francisco.Vladimir Guerrero popped out before Wieters' opposite-field single scored Nick Markakis. Francisco then coaxed a double-play ball from Derrek Lee to earn his sixth save in nine chances.Romero tied a career high with 12 strikeouts and walked four for the Blue Jays, who have won 16 straight games over the Orioles at the Rogers Centre dating to Aug. 7, 2009.Until the ninth inning, Romero allowed only one runner to reach second base.The 26-year-old retired the first nine batters he faced before Hardy doubled leading off the top of the fourth inning."He had all three (pitches) working for him tonight," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "That's why he's thought of so well. He was dominating."Until Adam Lind's two-run home run in the seventh, it looked as though Toronto would continue a trend of meager offense with its ace on the mound. Before Wednesday night, the Blue Jays had scored 13 runs for Romero in two of his 13 previous starts.In the left-hander's 11 other starts, Toronto had scored a total of 11 runs.Jake Arrieta (8-4) gave up three runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings for Baltimore. The 25-year-old struck out five and walked two, one of them intentionally, but his troubles with the long ball continued. The home runs by Escobar and Rivera were the 11th and 12th against Arrieta in 15 starts this season.Last year, he gave up just nine homers in 18 starts.Escobar gave Toronto a 1-0 lead with his third leadoff homer of the season. The Cuban-born shortstop deposited a 3-1 pitch from Arrieta over the wall in left for his eighth of the season.Toronto got back-to-back singles from Escobar and Corey Patterson to start the third, but Patterson was caught in a rundown between first and second as Escobar advanced to third.It was the second time in as many nights that a Blue Jays baserunner ended up caught off base when the Orioles cut off a throw from the outfield.Arrieta struck out Bautista for the second out of the inning, and after an intentional walk to Lind, Arrieta struck out Rivera to end the threat.In the sixth, Rivera touched Arrieta for his fifth home run of the season to put the Blue Jays ahead 2-0.Reliever Clay Rapada took over from Arrieta in the bottom of the seventh following a two-out walk to Jose Bautista.Lind doubled Toronto's lead to 4-0 with his 13th home run of the season on a 1-2 pitch from Rapada. The Blue Jays' first baseman and DH now has six home runs and 12 RBIs in 11 games since coming of the DL. Last season, Lind struggled to a .237 average and his home run total fell from 35 to 23."I have a much better plan and I think that's part of having some success," he said. "You kind of know what they're going to throw because if you get hits one way, they're not going to throw you the same way. When you're struggling you don't know what they're going to throw. It's hard to be selective because it seems no matter what they throw, you're having a hard time."Newly called up right-hander Jason Berken replaced Rapada to get the final out of the seventh inning.Former Blue Jays closer Kevin Gregg pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the Orioles.
Baltimore 2b Brian Roberts took the day off Wednesday and will be reevaluated on Thursday after waking up with headaches. Roberts is on the 15-day DL because of a concussion and took part in "exertional" exercises on Tuesday ... J.J. Hardy's fourth-inning double gave him an eight-game hitting streak. ... Orioles manager Buck Showalter did not hold out hope Toronto's "70's Night" promotion would sway locals to come to the park instead of watching Game 7 of the NHL's Stanley Cup finals between Vancouver and Boston. "That's the decision for fans who are going to be here tonight, that or Game 7?," Showalter said. "I'll make a bet who's going to win that one. ... Lind's intentional walk was the first of the season. The Blue Jays 1b/DH now has six home runs and 12 RBIs in 11 games since coming of the DL.