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Jays glad to have homers on their side

Jays glad to have homers on their side

TORONTO -- The Rangers' Tommy Hunter had one bad inning Monday, and the Blue Jays took advantage of it. They did it the way they know best, with home runs. Which have been Hunter's weakness this season.

Toronto scored five runs on two homers in the third inning on the way to a 7-2 victory over Texas before a crowd of 17,559 at Rogers Centre.

On the day, the Blue Jays hit three homers -- one each by center fielder Vernon Wells, second baseman Aaron Hill and shortstop Yunel Escobar -- and lead the Majors with 211.

Hunter (12-3) has allowed 20 homers in 106 innings this season, including the three he gave up Monday in seven innings.

Toronto left-hander Ricky Romero (12-8) allowed seven hits Monday but only one run in his seven innings and lowered his ERA to 3.51.

"He did a great job, pitched well," manager Cito Gaston said. "Against that ballclub over there, a good-hitting ballclub, a first-place club."

Romero said it was satisfying to pitch so well against the Rangers, who lead the American League West.

"Being able to keep that lineup in check," Romero said when asked about what satisfied him most. "That's a tough lineup. I know they're missing [Josh] Hamilton. When you hold a team with that kind of power to one run, it's definitely a success."

Wells watched from the outfield and continues to be impressed.

"It's been fun to play behind him," Wells said. "He challenges everybody. He throws strikes. He's been able to have command of some nasty stuff, the ball moves all over the place. He's been able to harness it. He's learning how to pitch in the toughest division in baseball. It's been fun watching him grow up."

"I felt like I made good pitches all day," Romero said. "I fell behind in the count a few times. That was a little frustrating. I think I'm having a little problem right now just mechanically. I think every starting pitcher can go through that. It's a game of adjustments."

Wells hit his 25th homer of the season with two on. Hill, who was a question mark before the game because of a hyperextended right knee, followed with his 23rd homer with one on.

Hill told Gaston that he could play. "He talked to me a little bit," Gaston said. "I'm glad he talked me into it, because I said, 'Well, I can get somebody,' he said, 'No, no, I'm in there.' It's good that he did."

"I never want to be out of the lineup," Hill said. "He obviously had two lineups. I told him I'm good enough. I don't have everything today, but I'm good enough. He wanted to take me out, and I just asked to stay in, and he let me stay in, and so it worked out great."

Hill came out for pinch-runner John McDonald after he singled in the eighth.

Escobar, playing his first game since Aug. 28 because of a stiff back, hit his fourth homer of the season in the seventh to make the score 7-1.

Right-hander Shawn Camp took over from Romero to open the eighth. Left-hander Brian Tallet gave up a ninth-inning run.

The Blue Jays caught a break to score the game's first run. With runners at second and third and two out, John Buck struck out, but the wild pitch bounced away from catcher Taylor Teagarden.

Wells, who started the inning with an infield hit, scored as Buck reached first safely.

Then came the more-expected Blue Jays offense in the third.

The Rangers answered with a run in the fourth when David Murphy's two-out single cashed Vladimir Guerrero's leadoff double.

After ending the third on a double play, Hunter worked through the next three innings without allowing a baserunner. He also retired the first two batters of the seventh before Escobar homered on a 0-1 count.

Romero took a hard comebacker off his foot in the fifth on Michael Young's infield hit.

Trainer George Poulis and Gaston visited him at the mound, but Romero was waving them off before they arrived. They still checked him out, and he worked out of the inning despite an error by third baseman Jose Bautista.

After the game, Romero said he felt no aftereffects. "It's fine," he said.

And so far he has been fine when pitching against the Rangers. He is 2-1 with a 0.92 earned-run average in four career starts against them. Hunter is 1-1 with an 8.05 ERA against the Blue Jays in three career starts.

The Blue Jays have won six in a row this season over the Rangers and have not lost to them since Opening Day.

Larry Millson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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