TORONTO (AP) - Losing a close game was little consolation to Toronto's Ricky Romero.
Justin Masterson pitched seven sharp innings, Travis Hafner homered and the Cleveland Indians beat the Blue Jays 1-0 Friday night, handing the struggling Romero his fourth consecutive loss.
Romero (8-5), who has not won since June 22 at Miami, allowed one run and six hits in six innings, walked two and struck out six.
``Any time you lose it's frustrating, whether you lose 10-0 or 1-0,' Romero said. ``I've always said I'm a sore loser. I hate losing.'
The Blue Jays have scored just three runs in Romero's past three starts, and have not scored in his past 13 innings. Despite the lack of support, the left-hander refused to hang his head.
``You go through your ups and your downs in this game,' he said. ``You've got to be mentally strong and I feel like I'm doing the best I can. I know I'll continue to get better and lead this team in the right direction.'
Hafner's towering homer, a leadoff drive in the second, was the only mistake by Romero.
``One bad pitch,' Romero said. ``Just hung a curveball to Hafner and he took advantage of it.'
The booming shot, almost as high as it was deep, was Hafner's eighth homer of the season.
``It was high and just kept on going,' Masterson said. ``That was pretty impressive. He's a big boy.'
Masterson (6-8) was hit hard in his final start before the All-Star break, allowing eight runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings on July 6 in a loss to Tampa Bay, an outing that raised his ERA by nearly half a run. But the right-hander bounced back strong against the Blue Jays, giving up just five hits, all singles. He walked one and struck out five.
``An excellent pitching performance,' Indians manager Manny Acta said. ``Masterson was impressive. He established his fastball the whole game, was able to throw it to both sides of the plate. He did a magnificent job.'
Vinnie Pestano worked the eighth and All-Star closer Chris Perez finished for his 25th save in 27 chances save as the Indians wrapped up their sixth shutout of the season.
``I was sharp tonight, for sure,' Perez said. ``The slider was coming out good.'
Toronto didn't put a runner in scoring position until the fifth, when Yunel Escobar reached on a two-out infield single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Kelly Johnson ended the inning by grounding out.
The Blue Jays put two runners on in the seventh, when Edwin Encarnacion walked and Adam Lind singled, but Masterson escaped by striking out Escobar looking and getting Johnson to ground into a fielder's choice.
``A 1-0 loss is tough to take but in the end we're a swing of the bat away from tying it up,' Toronto manager John Farrell said.
Colby Rasmus led off the ninth against Perez with a drive to deep center, but Michael Brantley made the catch. Jose Bautista grounded out and Perez fanned Encarnacion to close it out.
``I thought that first one (by Rasmus) was out of here but luckily we've got a big enough yard to keep it in,' Perez said.
NOTES: Blue Jays RHP Brandon Morrow (strained left oblique) threw a 25-pitch bullpen session Friday, his first since his June 11 injury. Morrow, who will throw another bullpen Monday, is not expected back before mid-August. ... Toronto RHP Sergio Santos (shoulder) threw a bullpen at Toronto's spring facility in Dunedin, Fla. on Thursday. Santos, out since April 21, will throw another bullpen Saturday. ... Toronto RHP Drew Hutchison (elbow) is due to resume throwing on July 23, Farrell said. Hutchison was injured June 15. ... The Blue Jays purchased the contract of Double-A LHP Aaron Loup and placed LHP Luis Perez (elbow) on the 60-day DL, retroactive to July 9. ... Friday was Cleveland OF Shin-Soo Choo's 30th birthday. ... Indians 2B Jason Kipnis was caught stealing in the sixth, snapping a streak of 18 successful stolen base attempts. ... This was Cleveland's first 1-0 road win on a solo homer since May 26, 1992 at Oakland, when Mark Lewis went deep for the Indians. ... Cleveland won for the 11th time in 16 games at Toronto.
The Associated Press News Service
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