As Ricky Romero slowly made his way off the field after getting the hook against the Chicago White Sox in the seventh inning, the only thing missing was steam emerging from his ears.
The Toronto Blue Jays starter was hot and he wanted the opportunity to face the dangerous Adam Dunn in a tie game with two runners aboard.
Toronto manager John Farrell had other ideas and he brought in a right-hander, Brad Lincoln, to challenge Dunn.
The result was a three-run home run to right field – Dunn’s third of the series – the pivotal blow in a 9-5 Chicago victory on Wednesday night at Rogers Centre.
“I would like to finish, yeah,” Romero said after the game when asked how he felt about Farrell’s decision to remove him from the game. “Obviously, you get into that mess you want to get out of it on your own. Nothing against the bullpen or anyone but as a starting pitcher you get in a mess like that you want to get out of it.
“Like I said. He makes the decisions, you just got to live with them.”
For Romero, it was an uneven performance that started with a hit-batsman on the first pitch of the game.
Chicago held a 4-0 lead through four innings only to see the Blue Jays storm back to tie it at 4-4 in the sixth on a Kelly Johnson three-run homer.
After Romero gave up a Dewayne Wise two-run homer and a single to Orlando Hudson in the fourth, he gathered himself and retired the next nine batters he faced before he started to falter heading into the seventh.
He issued a walk to Alejandro De Aza and then hit Kevin Youkilis with Dunn lurking on the on-deck circle.
Although Romero had handled baseball’s leading home run hitter in his three previous trips to the plate with a strikeout and two ground outs, Farrell opted to go to Lincoln.
Lincoln surrendered the big hit and Romero (8-10) would lose his ninth straight decision over his last 10 games.
“Obviously that move didn’t work out,” Farrell said. “That one’s clearly on me for running him into Adam Dunn in that situation.”
Farrell said it was a difficult decision to yank Romero, given how he appeared back on track after a rocky start.
“Even though he punched out Dunn, two ground balls,” Farrell said. “I just felt like the way we battled back in, went to a fresh arm.
“Like I said it did not work out.”
There was a bit of history made in the game.
Omar Vizquel had two hits in the game for 2,866 all-time in his career, tying him with Harold Baines for 43rd on baseball’s all-time hit list.
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