TORONTO (AP) - Facing the Baltimore Orioles was just what Toronto's Ricky Romero needed to feel good again.
Brett Lawrie had three hits and three RBIs, Romero won for the seventh time in nine starts against Baltimore and the Blue Jays beat the slumping Orioles 8-6 Tuesday night.
Romero had won just once in his previous four starts, and was coming off a career-high seven walks in his last outing, a May 23 game at Tampa Bay. But rather than continuing to beat himself up over his struggles, the lefty took it out on the Orioles instead.
``I've been hard on myself this whole year,' Romero said. ``Guys tell me to kind of tone it down a little bit and get that confidence back up but I expect so much of myself. I work so hard to go out there and have long outings and be deep in the game, and when I don't I kick myself in the head.'
There was no need for that Tuesday. Romero (6-1) improved to 7-1 with a 2.43 ERA in his past nine starts against the Orioles, allowing four runs and six hits in six innings.
``He attacked the strike zone much better than the last three or four times out,' manager John Farrell said. ``Overall, a very good step in the right direction for Ricky.'
Adam Jones hit two homers, one of them off Romero, but said Toronto's ace looked to be on top of his game.
``I don't care what I've heard about his last start or his previous 40 starts,' Jones said of Romero. ``The guy is nasty every time he takes the mound.'
Jones' homers extended his hitting streak to 20 games and Chris Davis added a two-run drive but it wasn't enough for Baltimore. The Orioles have lost four straight and seven of nine, but remain tied with Tampa Bay atop the AL East.
``We need this salvage win,' Jones said of Wednesday's series finale, which pits Baltimore's Jason Hammel against Toronto's Brandon Morrow. ``We need a win big.'
Jones hit a leadoff drive to right in the second and a two-run shot to left in the ninth, his 15th and 16th homers. It was his first multihomer game this season and the second of his career.
The bottom three hitters in Toronto's lineup, Lawrie, David Cooper and Rajai Davis, went a combined 8 for 12 with six RBIs and scored four runs.
Lawrie also made a spectacular sliding catch in foul territory for the second out of the ninth inning, helping the Blue Jays out of a late jam, but it was his hitting that caught the eye of Farrell.
``The biggest thing for me was I thought he stayed behind the baseball,' Farrell said. ``That's the first time in a while he's driven some balls, some fastballs that were up and away from him driven the other way.'
Jason Frasor worked the seventh, Darren Oliver got one out and Francisco Cordero got two outs in the eighth and Casey Janssen pitched around Jones' homer in the ninth.
Jones got the Orioles started with a leadoff drive to right in the second but the Blue Jays responded with two in the third against Baltimore right-hander Jake Arrieta (2-6).
Lawrie and Cooper opened the inning with singles and Davis followed with a bunt. Lawrie scored when Arrieta threw wildly to first, with the other runners ending up at second and third. One out later, a second run scored on Yunel Escobar's groundout.
Lawrie hit a two-run double in the fourth, and Davis added an RBI single, putting Toronto up 5-1.
The Blue Jays added three more in the fifth, when Lawrie, Cooper and Davis hit consecutive RBI singles off reliever Miguel Gonzalez, who was making his major league debut.
Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters picked up his first career ejection for arguing with home plate umpire Doug Eddings in the bottom of the fifth. Wieters was replaced by Ronny Paulino.
``He gave me plenty of rope and that's something that's clear, you can't argue balls and strikes,' Wieters said. ``It was something where I knew I might be going there but I still had to say my piece.'
Arrieta allowed seven runs, six earned, and six hits in 4 1-3 innings, extending his winless streak to five starts. Arrieta, who has won just once in his past 10 outings, walked three and struck out five.
Baltimore chased Romero with three in the sixth. Jones singled, moved to third on Paulino's double and scored Mark Reynolds' groundout. Davis followed with a two-run homer to left, his ninth.
The Orioles loaded the bases against Frasor in the seventh, but Paulino ended the inning by grounding out.
Baltimore put runners at second and third in the eighth but Cordero struck out Robert Andino to end the threat.
NOTES: Orioles manager Buck Showalter said OF Nick Markakis ``tweaked' his right wrist on a swing in the ninth. Markakis will be reevaluated Wednesday. ... The Orioles activated OF Endy Chavez off the 15-day DL and promoted Gonzalez from Triple-A Norfolk, with OF Xavier Avery and RHP Tommy Hunter optioned to Norfolk. ... Toronto recalled INF Mike McCoy from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned OF Eric Thames to Las Vegas. ... Orioles OF Nolan Reimold (neck) is feeling better after receiving a second epidural last week and is ready to report to extended spring training in Florida to begin his rehab.
The Associated Press News Service
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