Blue Jays 4, Orioles 2
Ricky Romero didn't care about strikeouts or checking his numbers on the radar gun.
The Toronto Blue Jays left-hander was only interested in getting outs, and the strategy worked perfectly against the Baltimore Orioles.
Romero allowed five hits in seven innings, Aaron Hill homered and the Blue Jays ended Baltimore's four-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory Friday night.
Fred Lewis had two hits and scored twice for the Blue Jays, who improved to 7-0 against the Orioles this season, including 4-0 in Baltimore. Toronto was 1-8 at Camden Yards last year.
Romero (7-6) gave up two unearned runs, walked one and struck out five. He retired the first 12 batters and allowed hits in only the fifth and seventh innings.
Romero was 0-3 in his previous three starts, yielding a combined 13 earned runs over five innings in the last two.
So what was the difference in this one?
''We went back to basics: Try to throw pitches for strikes and try to make them hit it,'' he said. ''Not trying to get swings and misses but just, 'Here, hit it.' I'm at my best when I'm down in the zone, getting groundball outs, getting quick outs.''
Two Toronto errors in the fifth inning enabled Baltimore to close to 3-2, but Romero made the lead stand up.
''We got him in a little bit of trouble by playing some bad defense behind him,'' manager Cito Gaston said, ''but when he needed to throw a strike or throw the ball by someone, he did it.''
After Shawn Camp struck out Adam Jones with two outs and runners on second and third in the eighth, Kevin Gregg worked a perfect ninth for his 21st save.
Hill had three hits, including Toronto's major league-leading 137th home run. The Blue Jays have homered in nine straight games, collecting 22 over that span.
Yunel Escobar, obtained in a trade Wednesday with Atlanta, went 1 for 4 with a walk in his Toronto debut.
''I was a little nervous,'' he said. ''It was like I was a rookie in the big leagues for the first time.''
Felix Pie, Julio Lugo and Ty Wigginton had two hits apiece for the Orioles, who swept a four-game series in Texas before the All-Star break to match their season high for wins.
In their return, Baltimore stranded six runners and went 3 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
''Romero made some pitches when he needed to,'' interim manager Juan Samuel said. ''Not one sticks out, but we had opportunities and we didn't get that one big hit. That's going to happen.''
Brad Bergesen (3-7) allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings. He is 0-5 in his last eight starts.
''Early on I struggled a little bit, felt like I was a little rusty,'' said Bergesen, referring to 3-0 hole he put the Orioles in after three innings. ''But I chewed up some innings, kept us in the game. Hopefully I can build off that.''
Toronto got a first-inning run when Lewis hit a leadoff double, took third on a bunt single by Escobar and scored on a fly to center by Vernon Wells.
Hill led off the second with his 13th homer, the second in two games, and an RBI single by Adam Lind made it 3-0 in the third.
Baltimore got within a run in the fifth. Wigginton singled to left, the first Oriole to reach base, and took second when Lewis misplayed the ball. Pie singled, and Lugo drove in a run with a two-out infield hit before Edwin Encarnacion botched a grounder to third, allowing Pie to score.
Successive doubles by Hill and Lyle Overbay made it 4-2 in the sixth.
NOTES: Toronto's seven-game winning streak over Baltimore is its longest since an eight-game run from Sept. 18, 2002-June 23, 2003. ... Bergesen has allowed 20 hits in his last two starts. ... Toronto RHP Shaun Marcum (elbow) could come off the 15-day disabled list this weekend, manager Cito Gaston said. ... Baltimore is 8-22 in the first game of a series.