By Frank Pingue
TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Blue Jays struck early and got solid pitching from Ricky Romero as they posted a 4-1 win on Wednesday over the Baltimore Orioles, a divisional rival they have not lost to at home in nearly two years.
The Blue Jays (34-34) were hammered by the Boston Red Sox over the weekend by a combined score of 35-6 and the Orioles have been the perfect tonic to get back on track.
Romero, who was perfect through three innings, matched a career high with 12 strikeouts before leaving the game to a standing ovation after walking two batters to start the ninth.
Romero, whose modest 6-6 record has a great deal to do with the lack of run support he has received, said he felt like he had great control of his pitches on Wednesday.
"Those are the nights that I feel like you have to take advantage of," Romero told reporters.
"You can't take it for granted because if you're a pitcher these days don't come very often and when you're feeling good you definitely have to take full advantage of it."
Toronto shortstop Yunel Escobar opened the scoring with a lead off home run in the bottom of the first while Juan Rivera had a solo shot in the sixth inning and red-hot Adam Lind, who has shown no rust since returning to the lineup after a back injury, smacked a two-run homer in the seventh.
The win was the Blue Jays' 16th successive victory at the Rogers Center against Baltimore, who last won in Toronto on August 7, 2009.
Baltimore threatened in the ninth inning when Matt Wieters singled to right field for a run but, with a runner on third base, Derrek Lee grounded into a game-ending double play.
Until Romero walked the two batters in the ninth inning, he had allowed only one Baltimore runner to reach second base.
"He was sharp right from the start, particularly when he needed a strike to get ahead he used his fastball well," Blue Jays manager John Farrell told reporters.
"He's been our most consistent (pitcher) that goes without saying. Every time he walks to the mound we have a feeling that we are going to win that given night."
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)