Off on the wrong foot

The Blue Jays were hoping Rookie of the Year candidate Ricky Romero might spark Toronto’s second half of the season. Then the Boston Red Sox walked all over him.

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero dives while trying to throw out Boston Red Sox David Ortiz on Friday. The Red Sox won 4-1.

Red Sox 4 Blue Jays 1

TORONTO — The Blue Jays were hoping Rookie of the Year candidate Ricky Romero might spark Toronto’s second half of the season. Then the Boston Red Sox walked all over him.

Left-hander Romero (7-4) allowed four runs on five hits and five walks, while striking out eight over 4 1/3 innings in the Blue Jays’ 4-1 loss to the Red Sox on Friday.

“He didn’t have his command tonight, he walked five guys,” said Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston. “He had eight strikeouts but it was the walks that killed him tonight.”

Boston right-hander Clay Buchholz won his first start of the season and Kevin Youkilis hit his 17th home run in front of 32,928 at Rogers Centre on Friday.

Buchholz (1-0) held the Blue Jays to one run on four hits — three coming from Toronto first baseman Lyle Overbay — and three walks over 5 2/3 innings.

Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth for his 24th save.

“Overall just a bad outing, a bad day,” Romero said. “I didn’t have command of my fastball. I didn’t have command of the strike zone. I still did my same routine. I worked out the whole week (during the break).”

After losing their final two games before the break to the Baltimore Orioles, the Blue Jays have lost 13 of their past 16 games.

Youkilis’ first-inning homer with Dustin Pedroia aboard put the Red Sox ahead 2-0.

“Youk got a fastball and gave us a lead, which is a good way to play because Romero has got one of the best left-handed change-ups in the game,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

Buchholz, making his first start in the majors since Aug. 20, 2008, was sharp early. The right-hander is 7-2 with a 2.36 earned-run average with triple-A Pawtucket this season and was told after the game he will be sent back.

“I knew what I was coming for and it was a one-game deal,” Buchholz said. “Take it for what it’s worth. I’ll be back sometime this September, whenever, or next year.”

Toronto got to Buchholz in the fourth. Alex Rios hit a sacrifice fly to centre scoring Scott Rolen to cut the Red Sox lead to 2-1.

Romero walked Pedroia and Youkilis with one out in the fifth before Ortiz doubled off the left-field wall to score both runners. It was Romero’s last action of the night and he was replaced by Shawn Camp.

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