Harrison struggles in loss vs. Blue Jays

Harrison struggles in loss vs. Blue Jays

Harrison struggles in loss vs. Blue Jays
TORONTO -- The Texas Rangers finally got to Toronto Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero on Wednesday.

They scored five runs against Romero, who took a 0.92 ERA in four career starts against Texas into the rubber match of a three-game series.

But it didn't prevent the Rangers from losing two games in a row for the first time this season, as they fell, 11-5, before 25,123 at Rogers Centre.

The Rangers have lost two series in a row after dropping two of three to the Rays at home.

They lost, 8-7, to the Blue Jays on Tuesday after having a 5-0 second-inning lead, after winning the first game on Monday, 4-1, behind Yu Darvish.

"We know what it takes to win, and we didn't get it done today," said catcher Mike Napoli who played first base on Wednesday as the Rangers sent out a right-handed lineup against Romero. "We're not worried."

"It looks real bad when you lose one that you should have won the night before, and then you've got to face a Ricky Romero," manager Ron Washington said. "I didn't really feel that he was at his best. We just couldn't hold their offense down. Just couldn't hold them down. We had to score 12 today to win."

Left-hander Matt Harrison had his second tough start in a row as the Blue Jays reached him for eight hits, including a two-run homer by Kelly Johnson, and eight runs in 3 1/3 innings. Reliever Scott Feldman allowed three runs, all on Edwin Encarnacion's ninth homer of the season, in 2 2/3 innings.

"[Harrison] just wasn't able to get his secondary stuff across," Washington said. "He just couldn't get his changeup working, which is his bread and butter. He didn't actually have his sinker going, which is his bread and butter. And when he left the ball up, you have to give the Toronto Blue Jays' hitters credit, they made us pay for it."

"Early in the count, I would throw my best offspeed pitches. And when I had two strikes to put them away, I wasn't hitting my spots where I wanted to throw them," Harrison said. "My offspeed pitches I thought were breaking pretty good, but when they break over the plate, they have a better chance of being hit."

Romero allowed six hits and five runs in eight innings, and he improved to 3-1 in his career against the Rangers.

Brandon Snyder, who made his first career Major League start in left field, not only caught a fly for the first out of the game, but he gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead with his first career Major League home run in the second. It was the first home run Romero had allowed to the Rangers in 30 1/3 innings against them.

But an infield hit and Johnson's sixth homer of the season gave the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead in the third inning.

Harrison left with one out in the six-run fourth after a triple by Yunel Escobar scored three runs.

Ben Francisco started the fourth with a walk and took third on double by Eric Thames. J.P. Arencibia hit a two-run double. An infield hit by Rajai Davis and a walk to Johnson set up Escobar's drive to right-center, and he scored on Jose Bautista's sacrifice fly against Feldman to make the score 8-1.

The Rangers responded with four runs in the fifth that opened with three successive walks. Elvis Andrus, who was used as designated hitter for the second time in his career, drove in two with a double, Michael Young blooped a single to second to score another and Napoli hit a sacrifice fly.

"It was a good outing, other than that one inning," Romero said. "It's just one of those things where I couldn't find it, but I was able to settle down. The offense picked me up today and put up enough runs to where there was a pretty comfortable lead, and I just had to go out and make pitches."

Encarnacion hit his fifth homer in six games in the sixth.

The Rangers were again without outfielder Josh Hamilton and third baseman Adrian Beltre. Beltre missed the final two games of the series except for one pinch-hit appearance. Beltre was out with soreness that he blamed on the artificial turf at Rogers Centre and Hamilton did not play at all because of a stiff back.

"We don't make excuses," Washington said. "We thought the team we put out there had the capabilities of winning. We didn't. They put up 11, we put up five. We don't worry about that type of stuff. I have a baseball club with 25 guys on it, and we have to pick each other up."

But Washington expects both Beltre and Hamilton to be ready to play in the series in Cleveland that opens Friday after a day off on Thursday.

"I certainly hope so," he said. "Hamilton did some work today and swung the bat and said he feels good, so I expect him to be back. I got Beltre off this turf a couple of days and he looked refreshed. We've got tomorrow off and we'll see where we are Friday. I hope to have them back in that lineup. They're quite important."

"That's going to happen, you're not going to win every series," Harrison said. "We know what we have to improve on. We have an off-day tomorrow. We'll move on. We'll get our heads right and go out and take it out on Cleveland."

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