Romero shows improvement, Blue Jays still lose
NEW YORK (AP) — Ricky Romero was off to another shaky start with a lack of control before something clicked with his delivery.
Too bad Toronto’s offense didn’t follow suit.
Romero gave up one run in six innings. It wasn’t enough to end his 13-game losing streak, though.
Ichiro Suzuki drove in the go-ahead run with a single in the eighth inning to help the New York Yankees complete a doubleheader sweep of the Blue Jays with a 2-1 win Wednesday night that ensured they remained atop the AL East.
‘‘Today I just did everything I worked on,’’ Romero said. ‘‘I had a good delivery. That’s one of the things I battled myself all year. I had a fluid delivery.’’
Andy Pettitte pitched five sparkling innings in his return from the disabled list and Suzuki made a difficult catch in the eighth inning in the opener to lead the Yankees to a 4-2 victory.
In the first game of the day-night doubleheader, Omar Vizquel moved ahead of Babe Ruth with an RBI double in the eighth inning. The 45-year-old Vizquel had two hits to move into 41st place on the hits list with 2,874.
‘‘I think when you get a hit to tie one of the best hitters in baseball, it’s an amazing feeling. I mean, this guy has been a legend in the game for a long time and, to mention my name right next to his just makes me feel so little,’’ Vizquel said. ‘‘I never thought, never, ever, in my career of baseball that’s been a long one, that I was gonna come close, to even compare my hits with the Babe. It’s just unbelievable. It’s very emotional, especially here in New York, the house that he built.’’
Vizquel had his second straight multihit game and 10th of the season, good for second-best in big league history for a player 45 or older behind Julio Franco, who had 53 such games, according to information provided to the Yankees by the Elias Sports Bureau.
‘‘When you start talking about the names that you’re mentioning, this is an outstanding career and he’s finishing up on a strong note,’’ Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.
The Blue Jays were without shortstop Yunel Escobar, who began a three-game suspension for wearing eye black displaying an anti-gay slur written in Spanish during a game last weekend against Boston.
Toronto dropped to 66-81, guaranteeing it will not have a winning record this season.
With the score 1-all, Curtis Granderson was walked by Steve Delabar (4-3) to open the eighth. He moved up on Jayson Nix’s sacrifice and stole third. With two outs, Suzuki guided an opposite field hit to left for the lead. Suzuki stole two bases in the inning.
Suzuki went 7 for 8 in the two games and stole four of New York’s seven bases in the finale.
‘‘It was just an unbelievable day,’’ Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Romero remained tied for the Blue Jays consecutive loss record with Tom Underwood, who dropped 13 straight in 1978-79. Romero walked five to up his AL-leading total to 99. It was his third game in which he allowed one run and didn’t win — two no-decisions.
‘‘I just think that he had better overall action to all of his pitches,’’ Farrell said. ‘‘Even when you look at the five walks through six innings, they didn’t typically come back to haunt him where that’s been the case previous.’’
Adeiny Hechavarria’s RBI single in the second after David Phelps walked was just the 24th run Toronto has scored in Romero’s last 13 starts.
In the bottom half, Chris Stewart drove in a run with a double to left that bounced over the wall and prevented Suzuki from scoring from first. Suzuki had singled and Nix was thrown out trying to score on a strong throw by center fielder Colby Rasmus. Romero had walked two to set up the tying run.
Romero was finished after allowing seven hits in six innings. He struck out five.
In the opener, Pettitte (4-3) gave up four hits in his first start since a hot shot off the bat of Cleveland’s Casey Kotchman broke his left fibula on June 27.
‘‘He gave us everything that we asked for,’’ Girardi said.
With the 40-year-old lefty on a 75-pitch limit, Girardi mixed and matched liberally, using six relievers.
Clay Rapada, Derek Lowe, Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan held Toronto scoreless through seven innings. Then Robertson gave up an RBI single to pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson and a run-scoring double to Vziquel in the eighth.
Rafael Soriano relieved with two outs and runners on second and third. He walked Anthony Gose after a foul drive that landed about a foot foul down the left-field line. Rajai Davis followed with a sinking liner to left field that Suzuki caught, pulling the glove to his stomach to protect the ball.Continued...