BOSTON (AP) - Ricky Romero struggled in his first 10 starts against Boston. No. 11 was even worse.
Romero got knocked around as the Toronto Blue Jays lost 6-4 to the Red Sox on Wednesday night. The left-hander gave up six runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings as his ERA against Boston climbed to 8.08.
``I'm about as lost as I can be against this team. I've done everything. I've tried everything,' said Romero, who dropped to 2-6 in his career against the Red Sox.
``I don't know what it is. I felt good coming out of the 'pen. I thought this was going to be a good night for me. I had everything working.'
Not quite well enough to stop the Red Sox, who won two of three in the series.
Romero (7-8) surrendered leadoff homers in the first two innings, to Jacoby Ellsbury and Kevin Youkilis, and allowed five straight hits - three of them doubles - as Boston scored four times in the fourth inning.
``I just don't know what it is about this team,' Romero said. ``I don't know if they see the ball well off me. I don't know if I tip something. I don't know.'
Romero had allowed just 17 runs in his previous 75 2-3 innings.
Toronto manager John Farrell said Romero was throwing well again on Wednesday, but the Red Sox were able to pounce on his mistakes.
``He's certainly not tipping his pitches by any means, but there might have been a little bit of a pattern early on,' Farrell said. ``They got into some fastball counts and put some good swings on pitches.'
Ellsbury and Youkilis had three extra-base hits apiece, and Tim Wakefield (5-3) scattered nine hits in seven innings for career win No. 198. The 44-year-old knuckleballer, who filling in for a rotation that is without Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka, allowed three runs, struck out seven and walked one as Boston earned its sixth win in its last seven games.
``When he's got that knuckleball going, he gets you out on your front foot,' Farrell said. ``There was a lot of late action on his knuckleball tonight.'
The game was delayed by rain with two outs in the top of the eighth inning, Boston leading 6-3 and Aaron Hill coming to bat. After a 40-minute delay, Dan Wheeler struck Hill out, then Jonathan Papelbon gave up one run in the ninth but earned his 19th save.
Yunel Escobar had four hits, including an RBI single in the ninth, for Toronto, which went homerless for the first time in 14 games. Jose Bautista and Travis Snider had two hits apiece.
The homers gave Boston a 2-1 lead before the Blue Jays made it 3-2 in the third on a sacrifice fly by Bautista and Adam Lind's RBI single. But with two out in the fourth, J.D. Drew doubled, then Darnell McDonald and Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled and Yamaico Navarro and Ellsbury doubled to give Boston a 6-3 lead.
Youkilis left Monday's game after being hit by a pitch in the fourth inning and rested Tuesday night. He returned to the lineup on Wednesday and started at first base for the first time this season, filling in for Adrian Gonzalez, who got his first day off of the season because of a stiff neck.
NOTES: Saltalamacchia had three passed balls trying to handle Wakefield's knuckleball. ... The Red Sox put LHP Lester on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his back. RHP Scott Atchison was called up to replace him on the roster; he'll work out of the bullpen. ... Bautista's 28 home runs before the All-Star break is one short of the Blue Jays' record set by George Bell in 1987. ... Toronto fell to 29-30 on the road this season. ... Papelbon hit J.P. Arencibia with a pitch in the ninth. He was replaced by pinch-runner Mike McCoy.
The Associated Press News Service
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