Romero just keeps on rollin'

Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero pitches against the Athletics in Oakland, Calif., Aug. 18, 2011....

Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero pitches against the Athletics in Oakland, Calif., Aug. 18, 2011. (BECK DIEFENBACH/Reuters)

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:34 AM ET

OAKLAND - Ricky Romero has been on hot streaks but he’s never been on this kind of roll before.

Thursday night at O.co Coliseum, he handcuffed the Oakland A’s with a three-hit, complete-game 7-0 shutout. The Tour de Force has become business as usual for the Toronto Blue Jays ace.

In his last five starts Romero is 5-0. He’s thrown 40 1/3 innings, allowed 14 hits, four runs and held opponents to a batting average of .110. He has an ERA of 0.89.

Overall, Romero is now 12-9 on the season with a 2.73 ERA.

He’s done just about everything for the club but drive the team bus, and you can bet he’d have that covered if need be. It’s how his mom used to make a living.

But seriously, the only thing Romero will be driving is hitters to distraction.

“He’s a competitive guy who can be emotional at times but I think this year he has learned to channel that in the right way and not let it become a distraction,” said Jays manager John Farrell.

“With the exception of a three or four game stretch, he’s pitched as well as anyone in the upper echelon of the American League.”

That stretch of games was just before the all-star break. Since then he’s been lights out.

“He’s been very efficient, throws a lot of strikes and he has the ability to get that key strikeout when he needs it.”

In two of the first three innings, the A’s put runners in scoring position with less than two outs and Romero wriggled out of both jams.

“Everything feels right,” said Romero. “I’m attacking the zone, I’m being consistent with my pitches. I’m not panicking in those situations like I had in the first three innings, first and second, first and third, bases-loaded.

“I’m trying to slow the game down when I’m out there. My game doesn’t change. I’m still aggressive. But you do take a little step back and not try to do too much.”

In previous years, Romero’s performances have tended to tail off later in the season. Not so in 2011.

“I feel great. My arm has been bouncing back real good. It’s a credit to the trainers,” he said. “I’m also taking good care of myself. Every year you kind of learn a little bit more about your body. I’m doing the small things to make sure my arm stays fresh.

“As years go by and you mature as a pitcher, you start to understand that less is more, just focus on the pitch you’re making at that moment.”

Meanwhile, Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus had three hits, including a two-run home run to spark an 11-hit attack by the club. Catcher J.P. Arencibia also drove in a pair with a sixth-inning single. Third baseman Brett Lawrie drove in a run and had two more hits to raise his average to .378 since being called up two weeks ago.

Lawrie delivered Toronto’s first run in the second inning. Rasmus had doubled with two outs and Lawrie worked the count full on A's starter Trevor Cahill before pulling a single into left field.

In the second inning, Romero pitched into -- and out of -- a minor jam, a two-on, nobody out situation.

The Jays got some separation in the fourth when Edwin Encarnacion cashed Jose Bautista’s leadoff walk with a single into left. Rasmus then doubled the count to 4-0 with his third home run as a Jay, a bomb to right field.

Adam Lind made it 5-0 for Toronto in the fifth when he cashed Eric Thames, who had walked, from second base with a single. Arencibia put the final punctuation mark on Cahill’s evening, drilling a two-run single to score Rasmus and Lawrie in the top of the sixth.


Videos

Photos