Jays get last laugh

The Toronto Blue Jays had a bid for a no-hitter fall just short for the second time this season.

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Ricky Romero (right) is consoled by teammate Adam Lind after giving up a two run homer to Chicago White Sox Alex Rios in eighth inning AL action in Toronto on Tuesday. Romero had a no-hitter going to that point.

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Ricky Romero (right) is consoled by teammate Adam Lind after giving up a two run homer to Chicago White Sox Alex Rios in eighth inning AL action in Toronto on Tuesday. Romero had a no-hitter going to that point.

Blue Jays 4 White Sox 2

The Toronto Blue Jays had a bid for a no-hitter fall just short for the second time this season.

At least this time they hung on for a win.

Former Jay Alex Rios belted a two-run homer off Ricky Romero in the eighth inning for Chicago’s first hit of the game, but Toronto beat the White Sox 4-2 Tuesday.

“It just wasn’t one of those nights where it was destined to happen for me and maybe it never will be,” Romero said. “To come that close, it’s pretty cool. It’s an awesome feeling.”

A pitching staff that lost ace Roy Halladay in the off-season again came close to a no-hit gem. Shaun Marcum held Texas hitless for 6 1-3 innings on opening day before Vladimir Guerrero singled, and Toronto eventually lost 5-4.

There has been just one no-hitter in Toronto history, by Dave Stieb in 1990.

Romero struck out a career-high 12, walked two and was in complete control until hitting A.J. Pierzynski with a pitch to start the eighth. Rios followed with a no-doubt drive to deep left for Chicago’s only hit, ruffling Romero.

“It’s kind of mixed feelings,” Rios said. “It’s another team that you have to play and beat but, at the same time, you know the guy. I don’t even know how to explain it.”

At Toronto, Pierzynski was granted first base in the eighth on a pitch that appeared to hit the dirt, not his right toe. Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston came out to argue and home plate umpire Tim McClelland called the rest of the crew in to discuss the call, but let it stand.

“Unless you’ve got instant replay, that’s the only way you can tell,” Gaston said. “I asked about it, they said no and there’s nothing else I can do about it.”

Romero (1-0) started Rios with a called strike, then fell behind 2-1 before the two-time all-star belted a changeup over the wall in left.

Romero turned around toward centre field, put his hands on his knees and spit after the homer. He lowered his head and shouted as Rios circled the bases to a chorus of boos.

Once Rios crossed home plate, the crowd of 12,167 gave Romero a standing ovation, then gave him another as he left the field at the end of the inning.

Romero covered his mouth with his glove and yelled at himself as he descended into the dugout, slamming his glove on top of the bench.

“I don’t think the words I said I could say them on camera,” Romero said with a smile. “It’s one of those things where you feel it’s so close and you know you’re so close, and to let it get away like that, it definitely sucks.”

Rios spent most of last year with Toronto before Chicago claimed him on waivers in August. It was his second homer of the season.

“It’s just another game,” Rios said.

“I don’t have anything against (Toronto). I was just playing a regular game. I don’t have any different emotions because this was my team. It’s just another team that I have to play.”

Kevin Gregg worked the ninth for his third save as Toronto won for the 11th time in 12 games against the White Sox at Rogers Centre.

Romero also pitched well in his 2010 debut, limiting Texas to one run in seven innings. The 25-year-old lefty made his major league debut last season and went 13-9. He solidified his spot in the Toronto rotation with a 1.89 ERA in five starts during spring training.

“He had a great breaking ball,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.

“The main thing was throwing strikes. He may be the best guy we’ve faced all year long.”

Romero’s previous career best for strikeouts was nine, set June 16 at Washington. He topped that by fanning two in each of the first six innings.

“I had it all going,” Romero said.

He had just two three-ball counts, walking Carlos Quentin in the fourth and Paul Konerko in the seventh.

“I’m not surprised (by) what he did tonight,” Rios said. “He’s pretty good. He can do that any time he wants.”

Toronto opened the scoring in the second when Gonzalez singled and Wells doubled. Lyle Overbay, who came in 2 for 27 on the year, followed with an RBI single.

Edwin Encarnacion added a two-run double off Gavin Floyd (0-2) in the fifth.

Yankees 7 Angels 5

At New York, Derek Jeter homered, Jorge Posada had three hits, Andy Pettitte dazzled and Mariano Rivera closed it out. Nothing more fitting on the day World Series rings were handed out in the Bronx.

Tigers 6 Royals 5

At Detroit, Carlos Guillen’s two-run double capped a six-run rally in the seventh inning and the Detroit Tigers pulled off another big comeback, beating the Kansas City Royals.

Rays 8 Orioles 6 (10 innings)

At Baltimore, Carlos Pena hit a three-run homer off Matt Albers in the 10th inning, and the Tampa Bay extended the Orioles’ early season swoon.

Mariners 3 Athletics 0

At Seattle, Milton Bradley hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning to power the Mariners to a much-needed victory over Oakland.