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Romero shuts down Rays

Aug 3, 2011 - 6:04 AM St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) - Ricky Romero gave up just one hit and fanned seven over eight innings to guide the Blue Jays past the Rays, 3-1, in the opener of a three-game set at Tropicana Field.

Romero (9-9) carried a no-hitter into the sixth before giving up a leadoff homer to Desmond Jennings. Romero walked four batters. It was the second straight game he's pitched at least eight innings.

Jose Bautista and Yunel Escobar each clubbed solo homers and Rajai Davis tallied two hits, including an RBI double, for Toronto, which has won six of its last eight. They are three games over .500 (56-53) for the first time since April 8.

Tampa Bay, losers in five of its last eight tries, had just three hits. The Rays nearly rallied in the ninth by placing runners at the corners, but Jon Rauch shut the door by retiring Matt Joyce on a fly ball to left field. It was Rauch's 10th save of the year.

David Price (9-10) struck out six, but gave up three runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings for his third straight loss.

The Rays blew an opportunity score first, loading the bases with nobody out in the second but came up empty. Joyce and Kelly Shoppach fanned, and Sean Rodriguez grounded into a force play.

"If you don't get him early and he gets out of a couple of jams he normally settles in, which he did again," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We have to do better. We've been really bad at that play."

After three scoreless innings, Bautista put the Blue Jays up in the fourth. He sent a 2-0 fastball over the wall in left for his league-best 32nd home run.

Toronto extended its lead in the sixth with another longball. Escobar sent the 1-0 offering into the right field bleachers.

The Blue Jays took a 3-1 lead in the seventh. Travis Snider beat out a potential double-play then stole second before scoring when Davis doubled into left-center.

Game Notes

All nine contests between the Rays and Blue Jays this season have been decided by two runs or less...Bautista homered for first time in 14 games...Ben Zobrist snapped a 10-game hitting streak...The Rays activated pitcher Juan Cruz from the 15-day disabled list and optioned pitched Mike Ekstrom to Triple-A Durham.