Ricky Romero puts his unblemished record on the line this afternoon when the Toronto Blue Jays try to hand the Texas Rangers their second straight series loss in the finale of a three-game set at Rogers Centre.
Toronto won in thrilling fashion on Tuesday, as Brett Lawrie lined Mike Adams' full-count slider over the wall in left-center field in the bottom of the ninth inning to break a tie and give the Blue Jays an 8-7 victory
"I was just locked in," said Lawrie. "Those are the [at-bats] that you get pumped up for, and you've just got to be ready to go."
Kelly Johnson and Jose Bautista hit back-to-back homers to help Toronto climb out of an early 5-0 hole and Johnson finished with four runs batted in for the Blue Jays, who have won three of four and bounced back from a 4-1 loss in the opener.
Francisco Cordero (1-1) allowed a run in the ninth to record his second blown save of the season but got the win.
Ian Kinsler knocked in three runs and scored twice in the losing effort. The Rangers had won a team record six straight series to start the season before losing two of three to Tampa Bay over the weekend. They also haven't lost two straight games this season.
And they'll likely be without slugger Josh Hamilton for the third straight game because of a sore back. Rangers manager Ron Washington has stated that he won't return until he is 100 percent.
Now, they face Romero, who has given the Rangers fits over his career, posting a 2-1 mark against them, while allowing just three runs and striking out 24 in 29 1 /3 innings.
Romero has followed up his All-Star campaign from a year ago with a strong start to this season, going 3-0 with a 3.18 ERA in five starts. He did not get a decision his last time out against Seattle, but pitched well in allowing just two earned runs in 6 2/3 innings. He did walk three batters and has issued 13 free passes in 34 innings this season.
Still, it was his fourth straight quality start since his Opening Day no- decision in Cleveland.
"That's my goal every time I take the mound is just to go out there and try to get as deep as possible," Romero said.
Romero's also 6-0 with a 2.78 ERA in 10 home starts dating to a 4-1 loss to the New York Yankees on July 16.
Texas, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Matt Harrison, who was banged around in his first loss of the season on Friday to the Rays. Harrison gave up seven runs (six earned) and 14 hits in only five innings of that one, as he fell to 3-1 and more than doubled his ERA to 3.37.
"It just seemed like tonight that they had my number," said Harrison, who had allowed just four runs through his first three starts. "And some of the hitters, every fastball I threw, they were right on top of it."
It may not get any better today, as Harrison has surrendered 16 runs in 14 2/3 innings to the Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays were 6-4 versus the Rangers last season.