It's the few batters before Romero dominated that the Blue Jays' ace would like to have back.
Romero threw a complete game, but was bested by Seattle rookie Michael Pineda in the Mariners' 3-2 win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday night.
Romero threw 113 pitches in eight innings, striking out eight and giving up just two earned runs. But it was the fastball he left over the middle of the plate to Ryan Langerhans in the third inning that was eating at Romero.
"Just the one pitch I missed the spot and he hit it out. Other than that I had it going all night," Romero said. "We threw strikes and got ahead. It's unfortunate we came out with a loss."
Romero has been impressive in each of his three starts this season, but will leave Seattle with a 1-1 record.
A night after scoring eight runs in the final three innings for a stunning 8-7 win over the Blue Jays, the Mariners got their offense started a little earlier — and it was all they would get off Romero.
Seattle followed up Langerhans' homer by taking advantage of Jayson Nix's throwing error that allowed Jack Wilson to reach second base after Nix rushed his throw on a high chopper. Wilson stole third and scored when Milton Bradley fought off a 2-2 pitch and dumped it into right field.
Romero settled down from there, retiring 14 straight Mariners after Bradley's single, including four strikeouts. He allowed five hits total.
"Ricky pitched well, with the exception of one pitch down the middle of the plate," Toronto manager John Farrell said. "That one inning was the difference."
Toronto finally got to Pineda, the Mariners' 22-year-old rookie, in the eighth.
Edwin Encarnacion started the eighth with a sharp single to left and just as the Seattle bullpen started stirring, Pineda (1-1) got Nix looking at a 97 mph fastball. Then trouble arose. Yunel Escobar walked and after a passed ball from Miguel Olivo, Corey Patterson ended Pineda's night with a sharp single to right that scored a pair.
Pineda left to a standing ovation as Chris Ray entered to face Jose Bautista, but before Bautista could do anything, Olivo threw wildly to second as Patterson attempted to steal and advanced to third on the errant throw.
But Olivo got bailed out when Bautista popped out down the right field line. First baseman Justin Smoak made a difficult catch in foul territory with his back to home plate. He quickly spun and threw a one-hopper that Olivo caught on a short-hop and tagged Patterson trying to score the tying run.
"It was a good call. I believe Smoak had a tough angle but (he) made a good throw," Patterson said. "If the ball was off the line left or right it was a good aggressive play. It just didn't go our way."
Making just his second start, Pineda left the Blue Jays guessing all night. He was clocked as high as 99 mph on the stadium radar gun, but also worked in nasty off-speed pitches, including a biting slider that left some twisted — such as Travis Snider — and others just looking.
"I'm excited," Pineda said minutes after cleaning up from his beer shower. "It's my first game winning here. I don't know, I'm just really excited."
Pineda went 7 1-3 strong innings, giving up just five hits, one earned run and striking out seven. His performance only raises hopes for Mariners fans of what a future rotation could be with Felix Hernandez and Pineda at the top.
NOTES: Escobar walked in the eighth and has reached base in all nine games he's appeared in this season. ... Injured Seattle closer David Aardsma threw a simulated inning of 25 pitches on Tuesday as he continues to recover from offseason hip surgery. Manager Eric Wedge said the plan is for Aardsma to go with the team on its four-game road trip to Kansas City and throw another simulated game before deciding on a rehab assignment. ... Seattle's rally on Monday night was the fifth time in club history it had overcome a deficit of seven or more runs. All the previous comebacks started in the fifth inning or sooner.