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Jays win pitching duel

Jays win pitching duel
The Blue Jays offence deserves most of the credit for the team's impressive start to the new season, but on the weekend their pitchers showed a capability to carry the load sometimes, too.

Rookie Ricky Romero delivered a third straight impressive outing with seven shutout innings while Lyle Overbay's RBI single in the second stood as the difference in a 1-0 victory yesterday afternoon over the Oakland Athletics.

Jays 1, A's 0

Scott Downs pitched a scoreless eighth and B.J. Ryan nailed things down in the ninth for his second save as the 10-4 Jays took two-of-three from the 5-7 A's to match their best start since 2001.

It's also the first time in franchise history they've ever won four straight series of three games or more to start a season, a streak they'll try to extend when the Texas Rangers visit for three starting tomorrow.

"Surprised? No, not surprised. Happy? Very," said manager Cito Gaston of his team's play. "We've done things right, we've caught some breaks here and there, the guys have pitched well and the guys have hit well."

Romero (2-0) is emblematic of all that's gone right so far for the Jays . Coming into the spring down the depth chart, the 24-year-old lefty put his game together after a terrible first few outings in camp, won a spot in the rotation and carried that success into the season.

Like several of his teammates, he's been far better than expected.

"Deep, deep inside me I knew what I could do this whole time," Romero said. "This ain't no surprise to me and I know there's going to be bumps along the road, but I feel at this point it's all about getting better."

Romero allowed just four hits and two walks while striking out six before a crowd of 22,164. His key stat of the day, however, was the seven innings he pitched, helping rest a bullpen that threw 62/3 scoreless innings in Saturday's 4-2, 12-inning win.

The A's only really threatened against him once, and Romero can thank his defence for keeping it a 1-0 game. Mark Ellis started the third with a single and an out later, Ryan Sweeney ripped a double to right-centre. Ellis, who paused briefly as he approached second, was sent home as Vernon Wells relayed the ball to Aaron Hill, who fired home to catcher Raul Chavez to nail the runner.

Dallas Braden (1-2) was a hard-luck loser, allowing just one run on five hits and three walks in 71/3 innings.

The Blue Jays run came in the second when Kevin Millar walked, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Overbay's RBI single.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 20, 2009

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