In trouble from start, Blue Jays fall to Yanks

In trouble from start, Blue Jays fall to Yanks

In trouble from start, Blue Jays fall to Yanks
NEW YORK -- Looking to salvage their three-game series in the Bronx, the Blue Jays turned to ace Ricky Romero with the hopes that he would continue his run of recent success.

Instead, Romero was pounded, while the Blue Jays lost another player in a season that has come to be defined by the injury bug.

Romero put Toronto in an early hole after surrendering four runs in the first, Brett Lawrie was forced to leave in the third with a leg injury -- a day after Jose Bautista was placed on the 15-day disabled list -- and the Blue Jays were swept, losing 6-0 to the Yankees in Wednesday's rain-shortened seven-inning series finale.

"It was a costly series," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "Obviously getting swept first and foremost, and then the injury to Jose in Game 1 and then today with Brett going over the railing."

Bautista left Monday's opener prematurely with left wrist inflammation, and Lawrie was forced out of Wednesday's game in the third inning after falling over a rail along the third-base camera well.

Lawrie, who attempted to catch a foul popup by Mark Teixeira, came down hard, banging his leg against a metal railing and had to be helped off the field. The 22-year-old left the game with a right calf contusion and had precautionary X-rays that came back negative.

Farrell said he hopes that Lawrie can avoid a stint on the DL, and right now his third baseman is considered day to day.

Bautista, Brandon Morrow, Drew Hutchison, Kyle Drabek and Luis Perez are among Blue Jays players currently on the DL, but, like Farrell, Lawrie thinks he will be fine with some rest.

"It's sore right now, just a little stiff, it just felt like someone took a bat and crushed me in the back of the leg," Lawrie said. "It's like a stiff Charley Horse right now, it will be all right."

At the time Lawrie left the game, the Blue Jays were already down big, after the Yankees jumped all over Romero in the first following a 51-minute delay to the game due to thunder and lightning.

Romero surrendered a leadoff double to Derek Jeter, who came around to score on an RBI single by Nick Swisher, before serving up a 2-2 changeup that Teixeira deposited over the fence in left-center field to give the Yankees an early 3-0 lead.

New York added one more in the frame and, before Romero could escape the first, the Blue Jays were trailing, 4-0.

"I felt good -- just left some pitches up in the zone in the first inning, kind of hurt me," said Romero, who fell to 8-6 and saw his ERA rise to 5.22."

Romero settled down after that but was never in control, and the Yankees added a run against him in each of the fourth and sixth innings to take a commanding 6-0 lead.

After turning in two consecutive quality starts following a prolonged stretch of rough outings, Romero allowed six runs on a career-high 12 hits, while walking a pair and striking out two.

Romero only had one inning in which he held Yankees hitters off the bases.

The Blue Jays lefty hasn't been the same pitcher this season --- at least not the pitcher he was during the first month of the season, and especially not the arm that was selected to his first All-Star team last season after a career year.

Romero began the season where he left off in 2011, going 3-0 with a 3.18 ERA in April, while holding opposing hitters to a measly .193 average.

Things haven't been as kind to the 27-year-old in the following months.

Romero has gone 5-6 since with a 6.03 ERA over his past 15 starts, and the opposition has hit over .300 against him in consecutive months.

"I've just got to go out there and pitch and just get as deep into the game as possible," Romero said. "Like I said, when you put your team in a big hole like that, it's tough. ... They were able to capitalize and maintain us."

But the loss wasn't solely on him, as his offense did nothing to help him out.

The Blue Jays were completely overmatched by Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda, who went seven innings, allowed four hits, walked none and struck out five.

Toronto only got two runners on base at the same time once against Kuroda, which came in the seventh inning, but the right-hander got out of the jam to preserve a shutout. After back-to-back no-decisions, in which he allowed at least five runs, Kuroda collected the win to improve to 9-7 on the year.

"I thought his slider was good, I thought his split was really good today -- one of the better splits that he had," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said about Kuroda, who recorded four of his five strikeouts on his splitter and slider. "I thought he located his fastball extremely well in and out to right-handers. He kept away from the first guy getting on a lot today, which has plagued him the last couple starts."

It was the fourth time the Blue Jays have been swept this season, and the club has dropped seven of its past 10 games.

The Blue Jays have an off-day Thursday before embarking on a three-game set with the Red Sox in Boston that will conclude Toronto's six-game road trip.

"This is a very good team that is probably playing their best baseball of the year over the last month or so," Farrell said about the Yankees. "We know the challenges are steep that we have to overcome to maintain this position in this overall Wild Card position, but we have to move on.

"These three games are in the books, and we have to go into Boston with the same aggressiveness."

Chris Toman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.