NEW YORK – Ricky Romero was given two extra days of rest after a wild outing against Detroit and Toronto manager John Farrell thought that made all the difference Tuesday night.
The lefty had a different take.
Romero pitched seven sharp innings but still lost his 11th straight decision, getting outpitched by Phil Hughes in the New York Yankees' 2-1 victory over the Blue Jays.
"I always say this: The biggest thing is strike one. If you're able to do that, with the confidence that I know I have and the stuff I have, I know I'm able to be on top of that hitter and keep him on his toes," Romero said. "When I'm ahead, I know I'm as good as anyone."
Romero threw first-pitch strikes to 15 of his 27 batters and allowed just an RBI single to Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson's sacrifice fly.
New York beat Romero (8-12) for the third time during his winless skid. He has not won in 12 starts since June 22. The Blue Jays have provided little help, though, giving him just 17 runs of support in his last 10 starts.
Romero did rebound from his start against the Tigers last Tuesday when he walked eight in 5 1-3 innings. This time, he walked two and yielded five hits.
"He was very sharp tonight," Farrell said. "He was efficient and I think he benefited from a couple of extra days' rest."
Said Romero: "I'm a guy who likes to pitch every fifth day. Obviously, extra rest, you can never complain about that — but at the same time, you're starting in this league, you've got to be able to be ready every fifth day, and that's the way I look at it."
Hughes (13-11) won his sixth consecutive decision at Yankee Stadium, giving up only Adeiny Hechavarria's first major league homer in seven effective innings. He allowed four hits and walked three.
Rafael Soriano bounced back from a blown save Monday night, when he gave up a go-ahead homer to Colby Rasmus with two outs in the ninth, by working a perfect inning to finish the four-hitter for his 34th save in 37 tries.
"The best day I had all year," said Soriano, who got advice from injured closer Mariano Rivera before the game.
With sluggers Mark Teixeira out after straining his left calf Monday and Alex Rodriguez sidelined since late July because of a broken hand, manager Joe Girardi put Yankees newcomer Steve Pearce in the No. 4 spot in the lineup because he has decent numbers against lefties. Pearce was acquired Monday from the Houston Astros for cash.
The designated hitter scored on Granderson's sacrifice fly in the fourth after he had walked, advanced on a wild pitch and went to third on a groundout by Russell Martin, batting fifth despite a .196 average coming in.
Pearce and Martin went a combined 0 for 5 with two strikeouts. But Swisher had an RBI single in the third inning for his 21st RBI in 20 games since moving into the second spot in New York's lineup.
"We're a little banged up," Girardi said. "No one's going to feel sorry for us."
The Blue Jays dropped to 12-26 since Jose Bautista first went on the disabled list July 17 because of a left wrist injury. The three-time All-Star was activated Friday but went back on the DL two games later with the same problem. He will have season-ending surgery next week to stabilize a tendon and is expected to be ready for the start of spring training.
Hechavarria cut it to 2-1 in the fifth with a high fly that landed several rows back in short right field. Yankees fans often throw home run balls back on the field, but not this time. During warmups for the bottom half, Blue Jays right fielder Moises Sierra was talking to fans in the area where the ball cleared the fence.
Toronto had a chance in the sixth, when Hughes walked the first two batters. But he got Adam Lind to hit a soaring fly that landed in Swisher's glove right in front of the 314-foot sign in the right-field corner. Robinson Cano then made a leaping grab of Yunel Escobar's liner to second and threw to third to double up Rasmus.
"Well, he clearly read that soft liner and thought it was going to be a base hit," Farrell said. "But then even after he caught the ball, I think he was a little surprised that Cano threw the ball basically from his hip and makes a heck of a play."
NOTES: Farrell said neither Henderson Alvarez nor Aaron Laffey would miss any time after being by batted balls Monday. Alvarez took a hard grounder off his left shin and Laffey was hit by a drive off his left calf. Both are day to day.