Simon struggles, Romero stars in O's loss to Blue Jays

Alfredo Simon allowed six runs (four earned) in 5 2/3 innings as the Orioles dropped a 7-2 game to the Blue Jays.

The list of pitchers who have dominated the Orioles is long and mostly distinguished.

It includes top-of-the-rotation studs like Jon Lester and CC Sabathia, who give everybody fits, but are a combined 30-2 in 39 career starts against the Orioles, and less heralded pitchers like Matt Garza (9-1) and Dallas Braden (5-1, 1.41 ERA)

Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Ricky Romero's numbers against the Orioles aren't as dominant, but he's quickly working his way on that list. Romero allowed just two Mark Reynolds homers, including one of the longest in Camden Yards history, over eight dominant innings as the Orioles went down 7-2 in front of an announced 13,824 on a steamy afternoon in Baltimore.

"He's had our number, man," said shortstop Robert Andino in one of the day's bigger understatements.

Romero's gem assured the Orioles (44-67) of another series loss. They haven't won a series since taking two of three from the Cincinnati Reds June 24-26. The Orioles have lost all four series against the Blue Jays this season and are 7-23 against them over the past two seasons.

"It's frustrating because it's something that, we'd like to win all three," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "Where we are, we need to make up some ground just from a W and L standpoint."

Romero wouldn't allow it, surrendering just four hits and striking out five. The Blue Jays' 26-year-old lefty is now 6-3 with a 3.10 ERA in 12 career starts against the Orioles, but he's been nearly unhittable against them lately.

Romero is 3-0 with a 1.11 ERA (three earned runs over 24 1/3 innings) over his past three starts against them, each of them lasting at least eight innings. In four outings against the Orioles this season, Romero is 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA, and he's allowed just 22 hits and 10 walks while striking out 31 over 32 innings.

Going back a little further than that, Romero is 6-1 with a 2.08 ERA in his past eight starts against the Blue Jays' American League East foe.

"He's a good pitcher, period, but it's one of those things you know exactly what he's going to try to do and he's able to do it," Showalter said. "It's hard with the cutter. He just pounds the inner half and it just opens up so many things for him. We talked a lot about the approach. He's pretty adjustable, too. He won't just stay one way. If he sees you make an adjustment, he'll go a different way. He's a good one, and a really good athlete. He's a challenge for everybody, but it seems like especially us."

Getting a 5-0 lead by the top of the fourth as his teammates teed off on Orioles starter Alfredo Simon, Romero didn't allow his first base runner until Andino led off the fourth with a bloop double down the left-field line.

Romero didn't allow a run until the fifth when Reynolds' drove a full-count pitch into the left-field seats. The 391-foot solo shot was a cheapie compared to what the Orioles first baseman did in his next at-bat.

Reynolds launched Romero's first pitch of the seventh inning into the first row of the second deck in left field.

"He just threw me a low heater and I hit it pretty good," said Reynolds, who now has 26 home runs. "It's just one run and we ended up losing, so it's all for nothing."

The 450-foot blast tied for the sixth-longest homer in Camden Yards' 20-season history, and was the second longest here by an Oriole. Jeffrey Hammonds still leads the tale of the tape with a 460-foot shot on Sept. 15, 1997 in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians.

Reynolds' ball was also just the second homer to reach the second deck in left in the history of Camden Yards. The California Angels' Rex Hudler was the only other guy to do it on June 11, 1995 off of Jamie Moyer.

"I think I've got a couple better in Arizona," Reynolds said when asked if that was the longest homer that he's ever hit. "The ball flies a little better out there."

Said Showalter: "It's too bad it only counts as one. That way you could stretch it out and maybe get an extra half a run for it."

As dominant as Romero was and as much as Simon struggled, the Orioles would have needed Reynolds' second homer to count much more than an extra half a run.

The Blue Jays got on the board on Jose Bautista's two-run double off Simon in the third, an inning prolonged by a Josh Bell error at third base. Toronto then broke the game open with three in the fourth.

Simon allowed a season-high six runs (four earned) on 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings. John McDonald went 3-for-4 with two RBIs for Toronto and rookie Brett Lawrie connected for his first major league home run.

"Today, I didn't feel like I had really good command of my pitches," Simon said. "It wasn't working very well. That's part of the game sometimes."