Rallies can't compensate for Romero
Jays starter digs hole too deep for complete comeback
TORONTO -- Ricky Romero is not going to let the Red Sox get in his head. The Blue Jays rookie knows that -- despite how the numbers appear -- he has what it takes to handle Boston's lineup. Romero has plenty of other successful starts to lean on as evidence.
On Tuesday night, though, Romero was again pounded early by the Red Sox, making it that much more difficult for the Blue Jays to mount a comeback. Toronto did rally, launching three home runs in a pummeling of Boston ace Josh Beckett, but it was not enough to outlast the Sox in a 10-9 loss inside a muggy Rogers Centre.
Romero vows to be more prepared the next time he matches up against Boston's bats.
"I'm going to come out with the same intensity, ready to beat them," Romero said. "I'll be ready next time. This one game is not going to break me. That's never been me. I've overcome, at this point, bigger things in my life. This is definitely not one of them. I'll be back."
In the meantime, Romero will go over what he has already spent time trying to remedy between outings against the Red Sox. While attempting to solve Boston's patient and potent lineup, the young left-hander has issued 13 walks over 12 innings in his three starts against Boston this season. On Tuesday, Romero walked three -- one leading to a run in the second.
Romero believes he has spent too much time trying to outsmart Boston's hitters, straying from what has helped him become a top candidate for the American League Rookie of the Year Award this season. That has been pounding the strike zone with his fastball and mixing in his other pitches as the count dictates.
In his 17 starts against every other opponent, Romero has posted an impressive 10-3 record with a respectable 3.26 ERA for the Blue Jays (55-62). When he has faced the Red Sox, he has gone 0-2 with a 10.50 ERA. It is a drastic contrast that Romero knows he needs to correct.
"I feel like at times I get away from my fastball, and I shouldn't," Romero said. "I get too caught up in trying to trick them at times, and that's not me. That's not what's gotten me to this point -- it's being aggressive with my pitches and just finishing guys off.
"I don't know what it is about Boston or whatever. I don't like to make a big deal out of that. They're just taking their pitches and making me work."
The Red Sox (67-51) opened the scoring with four runs in the second inning, which was highlighted by a two-run double with the bases loaded from slugger David Ortiz. In the fourth, Romero allowed a leadoff homer to Ortiz and then watched Sox second baseman Nick Green drill a pitch into the right-center-field gap.
Jays rookie right fielder Travis Snider sprinted toward the ball, but lost it for a moment in the stadium's lights. By the time Snider caught sight of the ball again, it had carried over his shoulder and bounced off his glove for a costly error. Green later came around to score on a sacrifice fly from Jacoby Ellsbury, putting the Jays behind, 6-2.
That gaffe was disappointing for Snider, who was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas before the game to assume the full-time duties in right. Snider finished 2-for-3 with a third-inning solo homer off Beckett, but he had a hard time enjoying his night at the plate in light of what happened in the field.
"Offensively, definitely I felt comfortable," Snider said. "I'm just continuing to try to put good at-bats together, and I felt like I did a good job of that today. But, defensively, you want to make that catch in right field and maybe make the game a little bit different outcome."
Romero exited with two outs in the fourth inning -- the shortest outing of his career -- and was charged with six runs (five earned) on six hits. After he left, Boston's Jason Bay added a fifth-inning homer off reliever Shawn Camp to put Toronto down, 7-3. The Jays did not let that deficit stop them from rallying over the final frames.
Like Romero, Beckett walked away with a no-decision after allowing seven runs on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings. Beyond Snider's blast, Beckett also yielded a solo homer to designated hitter Randy Ruiz in the second inning, a two-run single to left fielder Adam Lind in the fifth and a two-run homer to catcher Rod Barajas in the sixth that pulled the game into a 7-7 tie.
A costly throwing error by Jays reliever Casey Janssen in the eighth inning paved the way for a three-run outburst that pushed the Sox ahead, 10-7. Against Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon in the home half of the frame, the Jays received a two-run single from shortstop Marco Scutaro to pull within one run, but Lind flew out to the warning track with the bases loaded to end the threat.
It was a strong offensive outpouring from the Jays, and one that might have sufficed on another night. The difference was the early hole that Toronto was asked to overcome.
"Ricky didn't have a good time," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "We gave up six runs right away. That's tough to come back from. We did come back, and then we gave it away again. We'll just move on."
"It was just a bad night for me, personally," he said. "[The Red Sox] will battle you until the end. I've said it before, they take their pitches, they take you deep in counts, they foul pitches off. I just didn't have it out there -- that's the bottom line. I just didn't have a good day."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.