ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Ricky Romero has no answers for his control problems.
Romero walked a career-high seven in six-plus innings for Toronto, and B.J. Upton hit an RBI double in the 11th that sent the Tampa Bay Rays over the Blue Jays 5-4 on Wednesday.
Romero gave up four runs and two hits. The left-hander, who also hit a batter, has walked 21 over his last four starts.
``I can't explain it,' Romero said. ``It's frustrating. I've just got to keep working. This game takes a lot out of you mentally, more than physically. I'm trying to fix things and it's just not going my way.'
Romero threw just 54 of 105 pitches for strikes.
``The issue is with the command, particularly his fastball,' Toronto manager John Farrell said. ``He threw his secondary pitches for strikes. It allowed him to get back into some counts.'
In his previous three starts, Romero walked five twice and four once.
Rich Thompson was hit by a pitch from Darren Oliver (0-2) to start the 11th and scored on Upton's one-out drive into the left-field corner.
Jake McGee (1-1) struck out two during a perfect 11th.
Tampa Bay took two of three from the Blue Jays, and have won 15 consecutive home series against Toronto.
The Rays nearly won it in the ninth on Drew Sutton's two-out infield single, but second baseman Omar Vizquel threw out Carlos Pena, who tried to score from second on the play.
After Jose Bautista doubled with one out in the eighth, Joel Peralta replaced James Shields and gave up a two-run homer to Edwin Encarnacion that tied it 4-all.
Shields, who was looking for his seventh win of the season, allowed three runs and seven hits over 7 1-3 innings. He struck out 10 and walked one.
Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead during the first when Sutton's double off Romero scored Pena and Matt Joyce, who both walked. Joyce and Luke Scott both had RBI grounders as the Rays extended the lead to 4-1 in the third.
``I beat myself, again,' Romero said.
Bautista put the Blue Jays up 1-0 on his 12th homer this season in the first. He has seven homers and 14 RBIs over his last 13 games.
Yan Gomes hit a fifth-inning sacrifice fly that got Toronto within 4-2.
Toronto second baseman Kelly Johnson struck out in all four at_bats against Shields. He doubled off Fernando Rodney in the ninth before departing with left hamstring tightness.
``As the game went along it wasn't any increased pain, but the tightness continued,' Farrell said.
Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie made a diving catch on Chris Gimenez's fourth-inning bunt. Romero, who was also pursuing the ball near the third-base line, was able to leap over Lawrie and avoid a major collision.
``I think my knee might have hit him somewhere,' Romero said. ``I kind of lost track of the ball. I turned around to look where he was at. I saw him kind of slide and I was just trying to get out of the way.'
NOTES: Bautista has 125 homers with the Blue Jays, which ties him for eighth on the franchise list with Fred McGriff. ... The Blue Jays and Double-A New Hampshire have agreed to a two-year player development contract extension for 2013 and 2014.
The Associated Press News Service
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