The Toronto Blue Jays haven't been shy about scoring runs this season and lately it's becoming the norm.
Averaging over seven runs per game in their last 11 contests (46 total), the Blue Jays look to keep the production going tonight in the second of four straight meetings with the Oakland Athletics at the Coliseum.
The Blue Jays blanked the A's, 7-0, in Thursday's series opener behind another brilliant performance from Ricky Romero. Romero tossed a three-hit shutout and struck out six batters to win his fifth consecutive start and lift the Jays to their third straight win and fifth in six tries.
"He's a good pitcher. Just look at his numbers," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said about Romero. "He has subtle movement on all his pitches."
Colby Rasmus belted a two-run homer and scored three times, while J.P. Arencibia finished with a pair of runs batted in for Toronto, which is 3-1 on a seven-game road trip through Seattle and Oakland, and fourth in the major leagues with 593 runs scored.
Jays starter Brett Cecil could use some of that support when he takes the ball this evening. Cecil is 0-1 in three starts since winning three of four trips to the hill, and did not record a decision in Sunday's 5-4 win versus the LA Angels of Anaheim at Rogers Centre. Cecil was reached for four runs and five hits in seven innings of work.
The left-hander, who is 4-5 with a 4.38 earned run average in 13 starts, lost to the Athletics on August 9 in a 4-1 setback. Cecil lasted seven innings that day and surrendered three runs and four hits, including two homers. He has allowed a home run in four straight starts -- five total -- and owns a 2-1 record in three career starts against the A's.
Oakland fell to 2-5 on its 10-game homestand last night, as Trevor Cahill took the loss for giving up seven runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.
"Yeah, it's frustrating, because I feel like I'll figure it out over a couple starts, and then I'll go into a funk for a couple starts," Cahill said. "There's been no [consistency]. It's been a long season. I don't really want to make any dramatic changes, just refine a few things and, right now, just get in there and get out and keep my arm fresh."
Cliff Pennington, Brandon Allen and Scott Sizemore provided the hits in the three-hit attack for Oakland. Conor Jackson returned to the lineup after missing four games with neck stiffness and went 0-for-4.
Rich Harden draws the start for the Athletics tonight and is 3-2 with a 4.50 ERA in eight trips to the mound this season. Harden lasted four innings in his most recent stint, a 7-6 loss versus Texas on Sunday by the Bay, and allowed four runs with four strikeouts and a season-high five walks.
Harden is 1-0 in four home starts and beat Toronto on the road August 9 in a 4-1 decision, yielding just a run in seven innings of work. The righty, however, is 1-3 with a 5.11 ERA in nine career starts against the Blue Jays.
Toronto leads the 2011 season series with Oakland by a 4-3 count.