Jays bats, Romero dominate Orioles

Blue Jays batter Brett Lawrie lines a hit off of Orioles starter Alfredo Simon in Baltimore, Md.,...

Blue Jays batter Brett Lawrie lines a hit off of Orioles starter Alfredo Simon in Baltimore, Md., Aug. 7, 2011. (JOE GIZA/Reuters)

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:27 PM ET

BALTIMORE - If there’s a secret formula Toronto Blue Jays ace Ricky Romero is using to deal with the Baltimore Orioles, he’s not giving it away.

After pitching eight brilliant innings to beat the Orioles 7-2 in sweltering heat Sunday afternoon, Romero has run his record to 6-1 with a 2.08 ERA in his last eight starts versus Baltimore.

“I enjoy pitching, period. No matter who the opponent is,” said Romero, who gave up a couple of tape-measure solo home runs to Orioles’ slugger Mark Reynolds.

“I know what I’m capable of. Today was just a lot of groundballs. It was just a matter of keeping it simple. I wasn’t trying to do too much. Just told myself I was going to hit spots down in the zone. We did it with a lot of fastballs and cutters.”

For the first time since opening day, Romero did not walk a batter.

“Ricky was just outstanding,” said Jays manager Farrell. “I think he was at 75% strikes on the day. A lot of low pitch-count innings allowed him to get deep in the game and continue to pump strikes all day long.”

By the time the Orioles got their first hit in the fourth inning, the Jays were already up 5-0 thanks to an offensive boost from the bottom of the order. The onslaught included contributions from Farrell’s new best friend, No. 9 hitter Brett Lawrie, who had two hits, including his first major-league home run in the sixth inning.

No. 8 hitter John McDonald drove in a pair of runs with a double and a single, while No. 7 hitter J.P. Arencibia delivered a pair of runs with a double.

“I know it’s just a three-game look at Brett,” said Farrell, “but this is extremely exciting.”

Playing in just his third game in the majors, Lawrie, from Langley B.C., crushed an Alfredo Simon offering for an opposite-field homer with two out in the sixth.

Earlier, Lawrie ignited the Jays offence with a one-out single in the third. Rajai Davis then reached base on a fielding error by Baltimore third baseman Josh Bell. One out later, with Jose Bautista at the plate, Davis stole second.

With no baserunner to hold, Baltimore first baseman Reynolds moved off the bag and Bautista squibbed a double down the right-field line, scoring a pair.

“Without the steal, it becomes just a simple ground ball out to first base,” said Farrell.

In the fourth, the Jays laced into Simon for four consecutive hits, including three doubles. The key blow was Arencibia’s double into the right-centre gap that scored Edwin Encarnacion and Colby Rasmus. McDonald made it 5-0 when he doubled down the left-field line to score Arencibia.

Meanwhile, Romero retired the first nine Orioles he faced before Robert Andino led off the bottom of the fourth with a double. Romero then hit Nick Markakis with a pitch but got out of the two-on, none-out jam with a double play off the bat of Adam Jones and a lazy fly ball from Vlad Guerrero.

It was Romero’s 73rd double play ball since the start of 2009, the most in the majors over that span.

Baltimore got on the board in the fifth when Reynolds led off with a long home run, his 25th, on a full-count Romero offering.

Lawrie matched that in the sixth with his bomb on a 2-1 Simon pitch, restoring Toronto’s five-run lead.

“The charge that Brett can put into a baseball is amazing,” said Farrell. “He wasn’t really challenged at third base, made all the plays. Just a really good day overall.”

With two out in the seventh, Reynolds smashed the first pitch he saw from Romero for his second homer of the game, a 450-foot moon shot to left-centre.

“Of course you care,” said Romero. “You never want to give up runs or home runs, but if you’re going to give them up, solos are where it’s at. But those were some bombs, especially the last one. When I came inside, I looked at it (on video) and I couldn’t even see where it landed.”

McDonald’s second hit of the game in the eighth scored Encarnacion for Toronto’s seventh run.


Videos

Photos