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Romero, Rauch combine for shutout for Blue Jays

When the Baltimore Orioles missed an early chance to score on Ricky Romero, the Toronto ace didn't give them another chance.

Romero came within two outs of a complete game to win for the first time in five starts, J.P. Arencibia homered and the Blue Jays beat the Orioles 3-0 on Wednesday night.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Romero had plenty in his arsenal to keep hitters guessing.

"All of his pitches were in the hitter's mindset because he's around the plate with them," Showalter said. "There wasn't one you could box out. A lot of the times with starters, because of command issues on a certain pitch, you can box it out. You couldn't do that tonight."

Romero (8-9) struck out Adam Jones to begin the ninth but was replaced by Jon Rauch after Vladimir Guerrero reached on a wild third strike and Derrek Lee was hit by a pitch. The left-hander allowed four hits, walked three and struck out nine.

Rauch got Matt Wieters and Mark Reynolds to fly out, recording his eighth save in 12 opportunities.

"We had the tying run at the plate and Mark just missed that last one," Showalter said.

Romero, who threw a season-high 126 pitches, had not won since June 26 at St. Louis, going 0-2 with a 5.87 ERA in four starts. He is 5-1 in his past seven starts against Baltimore, including 4-0 at home.

Baltimore's best chance came in the second, when Lee drew a leadoff walk and Wieters followed with a single. Mark Reynolds grounded into a double play but Felix Pie walked to put runners on the corners. Romero escaped by retiring his former college roommate at Cal State Fullerton, second baseman Blake Davis.

"That breaking ball looks like a strike and makes you chase it," Davis said. "He was good."

The Orioles scored a season-high 12 runs and had 16 hits Tuesday, including a season-high eight for extra bases. They couldn't get anything going against Romero, who set down 11 of 12 from the second to the sixth.

"We let him off the hook," Baltimore's Nick Markakis said. "When you do that against good pitchers and they get in a little groove, it's tough to battle back the rest of the game."

Romero said he wasn't attacking hitters enough in the early innings.

"Started shaky, I wasn't being aggressive enough," he said. "Cost me some walks. After that I settled in and put guys away when I had to."

Returning to the lineup one night after he was hit on the helmet by a pitch, Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista started at third base and singled home a run in the first. Bautista, who leads the majors with 31 home runs, went hitless in his final three at-bats but made a leaping catch on Blake Davis' liner in the eighth.

The Blue Jays made it 2-0 in the second. Rajai Davis hit a one-out single and stole second and third before scoring on a two-out hit by Eric Thames.

Arencibia hit a two-out drive to left in the fourth, his 16th.

Orioles right-hander Alfredo Simon lost for the third time in four starts since joining the rotation earlier this month. Simon (2-4) allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings. He walked two, one intentional, and struck out a season-high seven.

Simon has received just three runs of support in his four starts, all of them in a 6-5 win over Cleveland on July 16.

"That's part of the game," Simon said. "I don't want to say anything to these guys. Romero just threw a good game."

Baltimore must win Thursday to avoid losing its eighth straight series. The Orioles have not won a series since taking two of three from Cincinnati from June 24-26.

Notes: The Orioles have lost eight of nine on the road. ... Toronto had just 22 active players after making two trades earlier Wednesday, dealing RHP Jason Frasor and minor league RHP Zach Stewart to Chicago and sending RHP Octavio Dotel, LHP Marc Rzepczynski and OF Corey Patterson to St. Louis. The Blue Jays recalled LHP Brad Mills from Triple-A Las Vegas to provide depth in the bullpen and will be at full strength Thursday when OF Colby Rasmus, LHP Trever Miller and LHP Brian Tallet arrive from St. Louis, and OF Mark Teahen arrives from the Chicago White Sox. ... The Blue Jays signed RHP Jeremy Gabrszwski, their second-round pick in the June draft. ... Orioles RHP Brad Bergesen (2-6) will face Toronto RHP Carlos Villanueva (5-2) in Thursday's series finale.