Romero does it all in Jays win

Blue Jays batter Ricky Romero (right) congratulates J.P Arencibia on his home run against the...

Blue Jays batter Ricky Romero (right) congratulates J.P Arencibia on his home run against the Cardinals in St. Louis, Miss., June 26, 2011. (SARAH CONARD/Reuters)

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:40 PM ET

ST. LOUIS - This is how the Toronto Blue Jays' weekend unfolded:

They were two outs from having lefty starter Jo-Jo Reyes come in as a pinch hitter in extras on Friday, they messed up a double-switch and nearly played with two left fielders in the eighth on Saturday and their ace Ricky Romero, who receives as much support as Canada Post gets from the government, was pitching Sunday.

Romero decided to solve his team's lack of run production by taking matters into his own hands. The lefty slapped a two-run single inside the bag at first against a drawn-in infield, giving the Jays a 4-0 lead in the sixth.

Romero also took care of business on the mound, pitching a four-hit shutout in a 5-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals to complete the sweep before 36,542 fans at Busch Stadium.

You figured after the Jays were swept in Atlanta that rookie manager John Farrell would come in and sweep manager Tony La Russa’s first-place Cards, right?

“Certain teams, certain managers have an aura about them, a mystique,” said Farrell after the sweep. “Tony has it, like when Joe Torre ran the New York Yankees.”

The three road wins give the Jays, usually humbled by the National League teams, five interleague road wins the season, their most since 2000. It was the Jays' first sweep in an NL park since 2009 at Philadelphia.

And it was due to Romero’s shut out (106 pitches, 67 strikes), the second of his career.

“He continually had low pitch counts each inning, if he wasn’t striking guys out, he was getting a lot of ground balls,” Farrell said.

Romero fanned five and recorded 13 ground ball outs. Through six innings he had thrown 67 pitches.

Did the Jays hitters learn anything from Romero's swing, after he previously went hitless in 14 at-bats with nine strikeouts?

“Didn’t see it, I was busy getting my bat,” said Jose Bautista with a laugh.

“Let the ball, get deep, then swing flat,” said Aaron Hill, “Ricky might have the worst swing of any of our pitchers.”

“No,” interjected Adam Lind with his tongue in his cheek, “he might have the worst swing of any pitcher in the game. The team got better with his two-run single, but we all worse watching him swing.”

Romero is paid to pitch and that’s what he did Sunday.

In game

The Jays had runners to set up their four-run sixth after one out thanks to a singles by Lind and Edwin Encarnacion. With the infield in, Corey Patterson bounced to first baseman Lance Berkman, who threw home off his wrong foot and overshooting his catcher by 15 feet as Lind went in to score. Encarnacion reached third, Patterson second. After an intentional walk to J.P. Arencibia, who earlier hit a 73 mph flat curve from McClellan to left for a homer, up stepped Romero to deliver his two RBI single. Escobar added a run-scoring single ... Both left fielder Juan Rivera and Patterson pulled up on a ball to the edge of the track in the fifth. Either could have caught the ball. Neither did as it fell for an Andrew Brown lead-off double. “We’d have liked to have seen a little more take charge from Patterson.” The Cards bunted Brown to third, Romero retired Tony Cruz on a ground ball to third, walked Daniel Descalso intentionally and then fanned McClellan. A zero on the board, but Romero had a more stressful inning than he deserved ... Both Escobar and Hill decoyed Cards shortstop Pete Kozma, going on a hit-and-run play, into thinking that the ball was on the ground in the eighth. He was easily doubled off first ... Escobar led off the game with a double and Hill reached on an infield single. Two on, none out, a beautiful day, life is good. Not so fast. McClellan struck out Bautista on an 87 mph slider and did the same to Lind, in front of an 82 mph changeup in the dirt.

Moving around

Jose Bautista guessed Sunday morning he’s taken 60 ground balls at third base since Friday afternoon, taking two sets each day. “I’m almost ready,” Bautista said. “I need to get better at the rhythm of the hops and reading swings better.” Bautista could make his season debut at third Monday night in Detroit. He and Encarnacion took turns Sunday with Bautista giving Encarnacion pointers to keep his arm up so his throws to first would not tail ... Cards broadcaster Mike Shannon made the same move from right field to third in 1967 when St. Louis acquired Roger Maris. “I’d never played there, they made the switch during the spring, so I had time,” Shannon said. “He’s a good athlete and has played there before. Every player has a starting position (to field) and it’s different at third than right. My only advice to him would be to play off the line as far as possible to get a better angle on the ball. It doesn’t do you any darn good to be in the right spot if you can’t see the ball.” ... Nice to see Red Schoendienst, Cardinal Hall of Famer in uniform. During World War II, Schoendienst was stationed in Fort Drum, N.Y. in 1944 and played exhibition games against the Kingston Ponies. My father, a catcher, threw out the Red Head attempting to steal second on a Jake Edwards knuckleball. That was about the only time they got him out. He was so good the Ponies were going to play him under an assumed name in the Ontario playdowns, but Schoendienst’s unit was shipped out.


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