Romero records seventh straight loss

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Ricky Romero throws against the Seattle Mariners during the...

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Ricky Romero throws against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning of their American League game at Safeco Field in Seattle, July 30, 2012. (REUTERS)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:21 AM ET

SEATTLE - At one time Safeco Field in Seattle drew nothing but sell-out crowds, a wall of Mariners teal.

While those days are long gone, on Monday, another colour swamped the green seats.

One of blue.

Blue Jays fans arrived for the opening game of a three-game series like a flash mob of blue. They assembled themselves 10-10 deep behind the Jays third-base dugout before the game and by the time the first pitch was thrown, they had completely swamped the hometown crowd.

Highly vocal they started a hand-clapping ‘"Let’s Go Blue Jays" prior to the opening pitch and were on their feet and screaming as Rajai David led off the game with a solo home run.

Brett Lawrie, meanwhile, who hails from Langley, B.C., was greeted like a hometown hero, making his way to the plate accompanied by thunderous applause.

It was an incredible sight, from start to finish, but the wave of support couldn’t stop the bleeding for embattled starter Ricky Romero as the Jays suffered a 4-1 loss.

Before the game ended the Jays would also lose outfielder Travis Snider, who was shipped to the Pittsburgh Pirates for right-hander Brad Lincoln.

It marked the seventh consecutive loss for Romero and evened his record at 8-8.

High on manager John Farrell’s wish list was a return to form by Romero.

"What he's capable of and that's to establish the strike zone early and keep the game under control as we’ve seen many, many times,”" said Farrell, when asked what he’d like to see from his left-hander prior to the start of Monday night's game.

His start didn’t result in a victory but it did offer encouragement. Romero was up in the zone more often than he’d like but at least he was finding the plate and walked just one. In his six innings he allowed all four runs on eight hits.

Offensively, the Jays simply waved at Hisashi Iwakuma for most of the night as the right-hander held them to four hits over eight innings, striking out 13 to establish a rookie record for the Mariners.

Among his victims, Lawrie struck out four times in four at-bats.

The Jays got off to an electric start as on a full count, Rajai Davis drilled one over the wall in left for the first leadoff home run of his career. It was also his sixth homer of the season, which is a career high.

The solo run also marked the first run that the Jays had scored for Romero in his last four starts.

The lead didn’t last long however.

With J.P. Arencibia on the shelf with a broken right hand, Jeff Mathis was in back of the plate and it marked the first time that Romero has had a different catcher in his past 54 starts.

During the week, Farrell said that the new face behind the plate, the new look, might turn out to be a positive for Romero.

That wasn't the case.

Seattle’s Dustin Ackley opened the bottom of the first with a double and then advanced to third on a perfectly placed bunt single by Michael Saunders.

It was a grim opening for Romero and that feeling intensified when Jesus Montero hit a heat-seeking missile that drilled second base ump Tony Randazzo in the left side. Randazzo was stationed on the infield grass when the curving liner whistled by Romero and struck him. If Randazzo had not been in the way the ball might have been caught by Jays second baseman Kelly Johnson for an easy double play. Instead, Montero was credited with a single and the bags were full.

The Mariners tied it when John Jaso grounded into a double play. They then took the lead on Kyle Seager’s single to left.

In the next inning the Mariners added a run on a series of Blue Jay blunders.

With one out Mike Carp singled and advanced to second on Romero’s wild pitch. A passed ball allowed him to advance to third.

After Romero struck out Carlos Peguero, Brendan Ryan hit a hot smash to third that Lawrie couldn’t get a hold of. Unable to locate the ball that was at his feet for a few seconds, Carp scored with Lawrie receiving an error.

In the fifth Romero ran into more problems.

With one out, Ryan cracked a double to left-centre and after a fly out, Saunders ripped a run-scoring double into the right-field corner to up Seattle’s lead to 4-1.

 


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