TORONTO — Describing his recent struggles on the mound, Blue Jays ace Ricky Romero says he feels like he’s in quicksand.
Romero (8-3) gave up 11 hits, three walks and eight runs in six-plus innings as the Kansas City Royals defeated Toronto 11-3 on Monday.
“Every time you just keep getting deeper and deeper and don’t know how to get out of it,” the left-hander said after taking his second successive drubbing.
“You’ve got to keep mentally strong. I’m going to continue to stay positive and get through this.”
Salvador Perez hit a two-run homer against Romero and Mike Moustakas had an RBI double against Romero in the third.
Moustakas finished with five RBIs after hitting his first career grand slam against reliever David Pauley in the five-run seventh.
Jose Bautista and Colby Rasmus had solo home runs against Royals’ left-hander Everett Teaford (1-1) who held the Blue Jays to five hits and two walks in his second start since being recalled from triple-A Omaha on June 27.
The Royals (36-42) snapped a three-game losing string and the Blue Jays (40-40) lost their second straight.
Romero had his earned-run average swell to 5.35 as he lost for the first time at home after five wins.
“All you can expect from me is I’m going to keep working hard and do whatever it takes to keep getting better and get ready for my next start,” Romero said.
He allowed eight earned runs for the second start in a row and has allowed at least four earned runs in each of his past four starts and in seven of his past 11.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell said Romero showed improvement on Monday compared to when he allowed nine runs (eight earned) in three innings in his loss to the Boston Red Sox last Wednesday at Fenway.
“Tonight I thought Ricky threw a greater number of strikes overall and what seemed to be lacking consistency was the overall fastball command within the strike zone,” Farrell said. “I think if you look at the total amount of hits allowed there were eight on fastballs.”
The Blue Jays turned a leadoff double by Brett Lawrie into a first-inning run. Lawrie took third on a long fly to centre by Rasmus. Bautista walked and Edwin Encarnacion was hit by a pitch for the eighth time this season to load the bases. Lawrie scored on a groundout by Yunel Escobar.
Perez hit his third homer of the season after Romero walked Jeff Francoeur with two out in the second. The Royals scored two more in the third after a one-out single by Eric Hosmer and two-out doubles by Yuniesky Betancourt and Moustakas.
Bautista hit his major-league leading 27th homer with two out in the home third to cut the lead to 4-2.
But the Royals scored twice more in the fourth. Perez singled, Jason Bourgeois doubled and Alex Gordon singled in one run. A wild pitch scored the second run of the inning.
Rasmus crushed his 16th homer of the season with two out in the fifth to reduce the Royals lead to 6-3.
Romero departed after giving up a walk to Alcides Escobar and a double to Hosmer to open the seventh.
“I thought the action of the changeup for the most part was much better,” Farrell said. “He threw a greater number of curveballs that showed depth and shape. From those comparisons it was improvement but we cannot deny what the bottom line was.”
Pauley took Romero’s place and hit Butler with a pitch to load the bases. Betancourt singled in a run and Moustakas followed with his 14th homer of the season and his first slam.
“It was really cool,” Moustakas said. “I got a good pitch to hit, got a fastball over the middle of the plate and just tried not to do too much with it.”
After the game, Pauley was designated for assignment and right-hander Drew Carpenter was selected from triple-A Las Vegas.
But the attention is on Romero right now who is supposed to be the ace of the staff.
“This sport works in mysterious ways sometimes,” Romero said. “You can be on top of the world one day and then the next day you’re trying to find yourself.
“That’s what I feel like right now.”
Notes: Attendance at Rogers Centre was 17,127. … Romero has allowed at least one walk in each of his 17 starts this season and has allowed more than one walk in 14 of them with a season-high of seven on May 23. … The Royals had consecutive winning months in June (14-13) and May (15-13) for the first time since 2007. … The Blue Jays will start left-hander Brett Cecil (1-1, 6.06 earned-run average) on Tuesday against Vin Mazzaro (3-2, 4.74 ERA).