Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Romero Continues to Find Groove, but Bats Silent as Indians Shut out Jays 1-0

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Romero Continues to Find Groove, but Bats Silent as Indians Shut out Jays 1-0

Article excerpt

Romero keeps improving, but Jays fall 1-0

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TORONTO - For a team that sees itself as a playoff contender, July is no time for moral victories.

Toronto ace Ricky Romero continued to round into form Friday, but the Blue Jays' bats fell silent for a second consecutive start with their star pitcher on the mound as the Cleveland Indians posted a 1-0 shutout victory.

Romero, who lost 2-0 to Chicago last Saturday, has dropped four straight starts as Toronto once again finds itself under .500 at 43-44.

"If we want to make the playoffs (it's all about team victories). We're not here for personal stats. Our goal since spring training has been to get into the playoffs and everything else will dictate from there," said Romero, who battled for six innings, allowing six hits and two walks while striking out six to drop to 8-5 on the season.

"You go through your ups and your downs in this game and you've got to be mentally strong and I feel like I'm doing the best I can," he said. "I know I'll continue to get better and lead this team in the right direction."

Travis Hafner's solo shot in the second inning was all the offence Cleveland (45-41) needed behind a strong outing from Justin Masterson, who gave up just five singles while striking out five and surrendering one walk in the first game for both clubs after the all-star break.

Vinnie Pestano pitched a perfect eighth for Cleveland, while Chris Perez did the same in the ninth to pick up his 25th save. The Cleveland closer struck out Edwin Encarnacion swinging for the final out, a day after the Toronto first baseman signed a three-year, US$27-million contract extension.

"They threw the ball exceptionally well against us tonight," said Blue Jays manager John Farrell, whose team is in the mix in the American League wildcard race but will need to string some wins together to stay in the hunt. "I thought Ricky pitched a good game, as did every guy that came out of the bullpen tonight.

A 1-0 loss is tough to take but in the end we're a swing of the bat away from tying it up."

Romero, who came in with the third best run support among American League starters, has now gone 13 innings dating back to July 2 without the Blue Jays providing him any offence.

"You have top tip your hat off to (Masterson). He threw a hell of a game. Kept us off balance all night and for me it's not about personal (wins)," said Romero. "Obviously you want to get off on the right note (after the all-star break) in the win column.

"One bad pitch. Again. Just hung a curveball to Hafner and he took advantage of it."

Romero got out of trouble in the fourth when Carlos Santana walked with one out and Michael Brantley doubled to put runners at second and third. But the left-hander struck out Lou Marson swinging and got Johnny Damon to ground out to short.

The Blue Jays finally got a runner into scoring position in the fifth when Yunel Escobar got to first on an infield single and moved to second on a wild pitch. …

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