Up-Hill battle

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:14 AM ET

TORONTO - It has been a rough season for Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill, who got the day off Saturday.

In 2009, Hill hit .286 with 36 home runs and 108 RBIs and was the starting second baseman at the all-star game. Last season his average dipped to just .205 but he maintained his power stroke with 26 homers and 68 RBIs. This season, Hill isn’t hitting for average (.226) or power (five homers and 15 doubles).

“He has been battling to try and find his stroke, you could probably say, for the better part of the season,” manager John Farrell said. “He is in the midst of a grind, a long grind.”

Farrell also said he has tried to give Hill time off, not only to physically recharge but to work with hitting coach Dwayne Murphy and try to apply those lessons. “But it hasn’t, to date, clicked for any extended period of time,” Farrell said.

No dream Weaver

Angels pitcher Jered Weaver came into the game having a dream season. He had won eight of his past nine decisions. Over his previous 24 starts, the right-hander had not allowed more than four earned runs in any game and no more than two home runs. The Jays, though, chased him in the fifth, his shortest outing of the season. The eight runs allowed equalled his career high. His streak of 15 consecutive quality starts came to an end.

Slick Rick

Ricky Romero is on a roll for the Jays. The lefty has won his last four starts to move to 11-9 and lower his ERA to 2.87.

Over seven innings on Saturday, Romero allowed one run — a solo shot by Alberto Callaspo in the fifth inning — and just two hits. He pitched his way out of a two-on, one-out jam in the first after throwing 10 consecutive balls coming back to induce Mark Trumbo into an inning-ending double play. After that it was smooth sailing with the bulk of his outs coming on ground balls.

“I did my best to pound the zone and get quick outs,” Romero said. “The key for me every time I go deep in games is strike one. When I do that I feel like I’m in control.”


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