Ricky Romero Takes No-Hitter Into Eighth Inning, Blue Jays Beat White Sox 4-2


TORONTO — Ricky Romero became the
latest Toronto pitcher to take a no-hit try into the late innings,
losing his bid in the eighth when former teammate Alex Rios homered
Tuesday night in the Blue Jays' 4-2 win over the Chicago White Sox.

Romero struck out a career-high 12 and
was in complete control until hitting A.J. Pierzynski with a pitch to
start the eighth. Rios followed with a no-doubt drive to deep left for
Chicago's only hit, ruffling Romero.

A pitching staff that lost ace Roy
in the offseason again came close to a no-hit gem. Shaun Marcum
held Texas hitless for 6 1/3 innings on opening day before Vladimir
singled. There has been just one no-hitter in Toronto history,
by Dave Stieb in 1990.

CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees
neared a no-hitter last Saturday, shutting down Tampa Bay until Kelly
's two-out single in the eighth.

Pierzynski led off the eighth and was
granted first base on a pitch that appeared to hit the dirt, not his
right toe. Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston came out to argue and home
plate umpire Tim McClelland called the rest of the crew in to discuss
the call, but let it stand.

Romero (1-0) started Rios with a
called strike, then fell behind 2-1 before the two-time All-Star
outfielder hit a changeup over the wall in left.

Romero turned around toward center
field, put his hands on his knees and spit after the home run. He
lowered his head and shouted as Rios circled the bases to a chorus of

Once Rios crossed home plate, the
crowd of 12,167 gave Romero a standing ovation, then gave him another as
he left the field at the end of the inning. Romero covered his mouth
with his glove and yelled at himself as he descended into the dugout,
slamming his glove on top of the bench.

Rios spent most of last year with
Toronto before Chicago claimed him on waivers in August. The two-run
homer was his second of the season.

Kevin Gregg worked the ninth for his
third save as Toronto won for the 11th time in 12 games against the
White Sox at Rogers Centre.

Romero walked two. The 25-year-old
lefty also pitched well in his 2010 debut, limiting Texas to one run in
seven innings.

He made his major league debut last
season and went 13-9, and solidified his spot in the Toronto rotation
with a 1.89 ERA in five starts during spring training.

Romero's previous career best for
strikeouts was nine, set last June 16 at Washington. He topped that mark
by fanning two in each of the first six innings.

He had just two three-ball counts,
walking Carlos Quentin in the fourth and Paul Konerko in the seventh.

The White Sox didn't get a ball out
of the infield until the seventh, when Quentin hit a one-out drive to
center, but the ball hung up long enough for Vernon Wells to make an
easy catch.

Rios had the only other hard-hit ball
early on, a sharp one-hopper to short leading off the third that was
fielded by Alex Gonzalez.

Toronto opened the scoring in the
second when Gonzalez singled and Wells doubled. Lyle Overbay, who came
in 2-for-27 this season, followed with an RBI single.

Edwin Encarnacion blooped a two-run
double off Gavin Floyd (0-2) in the fifth.

Toronto signed Cuban SS
prospect Adeiny Hechavarria and will send him to the minor leagues.

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