DETROIT – Ricky Romero has a hard time explaining what's happened this last month and a half.
Romero lost his 10th straight decision Tuesday night, walking eight batters to help the Detroit Tigers beat his Toronto Blue Jays 5-3. Romero is 0-10 with a 7.69 ERA in his last 11 starts.
"I feel like I'm the one that lost the game," said Romero, who allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings. "It's baffling. It's tough. I don't know how to put it. It's just been a frustrating year."
Austin Jackson had three hits for Detroit, and Max Scherzer (13-6) was sharp for the Tigers. Scherzer allowed five hits, including Edwin Encarnacion's solo homer. He struck out eight and walked two.
Detroit needed three relievers to get through the eighth, when the Blue Jays scored two runs. Jose Valverde then pitched the ninth for his 24th save in 28 chances.
Valverde allowed two baserunners but eventually struck out Encarnacion to end it.
Romero (8-11) walked six in the first two innings, allowing the game's first two runs on free passes with the bases loaded.
"Everything goes off the starting pitcher, and I definitely haven't done my job this year," Romero said. "I'm going to continue to work hard and get ready for my next start. Just try to end on a good note — that's all I can do now. It's been a nightmare of a year."
Romero was in trouble right away in the first inning. Jackson hit an infield single and went to second on third baseman Omar Vizquel's throwing error. With two outs and a man on third, Romero walked Prince Fielder, Jhonny Peralta and Delmon Young to give Detroit the lead.
In the second, Romero walked Omar Infante with the bases loaded, and Miguel Cabrera followed with a double-play grounder that brought home another run to make it 3-0.
"That's tough when you see a guy missing by that much and you're trying to hit against it," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "You're saying, 'Well, he's wild, I don't want to swing at something bad.' Then all of a sudden he throws one that looks good and it runs in on you. That's what happened a couple times."
Encarnacion hit his 32nd homer in the sixth, and at that point, Romero hadn't allowed a walk or a run since the second. He couldn't keep it up, giving up a walk to Jeff Baker, a single to Andy Dirks and another walk to Gerald Laird to load the bases.
"It's puzzling, and I'm sure he's frustrated by it as well, because it can rear its head at any point in time in the game," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "Just the overall command, and the loss of it for a two- or three-hitter span."
After Jackson hit into a forceout at the plate, Infante hit a grounder to first baseman David Cooper, who hesitated and ended up not getting any out at all.
Romero left the game after that, and Cabrera added a sacrifice fly off Brad Lincoln to make it 5-1.
Toronto fought back in the eighth with an RBI double by Cooper and a run-scoring single by Yunel Escobar. Joaquin Benoit came on with two on and two outs and threw only one pitch, retiring Vizquel on a popup to end the threat.
NOTES: The last pitcher to walk at least eight batters with no strikeouts was Colorado's Greg Reynolds, who walked eight against Philadelphia on May 28, 2008, according to STATS, LLC. ... Detroit OF Ryan Raburn (sprained right thumb) is slated to join Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday to start a rehabilitation assignment. ... Scherzer has a career-high 186 strikeouts this year, surpassing his previous mark of 184 from 2010. ... Detroit RHP Anibal Sanchez (1-3) faces Toronto LHP Aaron Laffey (3-4) on Wednesday night.