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Blue Jays-Athletics Preview

AP - Sports

Toronto left-hander Ricky Romero credited his teammates for picking him up during his last start. If his history against the Oakland Athletics is any indication, he probably won't need much help his next time out.

Romero will try to continue his domination of the Athletics on Tuesday night when the Blue Jays open a two-game set in Oakland.

The Jays are off to an uneven start on their 10-game road trip. After opening with consecutive shutout wins against the Los Angeles Angels, they settled for a split of the four-game series following a 4-3 defeat Sunday.

Drew Hutchison gave up Albert Pujols' first homer of the season in the fifth inning to put the Angels up 4-1, and Toronto's rally was stifled by double plays in the eighth and ninth on a popup and a liner.

"I don't think we are satisfied," manager John Farrell said of the split. "I don't know if we can ever be satisfied splitting a series when we had ourselves set up for a series win."

With Romero (4-0, 3.64 ERA) taking the mound Tuesday, Farrell has to feel good about his club's chances of bouncing back. Romero is off to the best start of his career record-wise, and opponents are hitting .195 against him - second-best among AL lefties.

He wasn't at his best Wednesday, allowing a season-high five runs to a potent Texas lineup, but he made it through eight innings for the third time this season and got plenty of support in an 11-5 win.

"It's just one of those things where I couldn't find it, but I was able to settle down," he told the Blue Jays' official website. "The offense picked me up today ... and I just had to go out and make pitches."

Romero hasn't needed much help against the Athletics, going 4-0 with a 1.49 ERA in five starts - most recently a three-hit shutout Aug. 18 in Oakland.

The A's, however, return home after scoring four runs or more six times during a 5-4 trip.

Oakland (15-14) finished the trek with consecutive wins over Tampa Bay, including a 9-5 victory Sunday for its fourth victory in five games.

Brandon Inge, released by Detroit last month, homered for the first time with the A's and drove in four runs while Jonny Gomes and Daric Barton knocked in two runs apiece.

"A three-team swing can be a little taxing," manager Bob Melvin said, "but it was an above .500 road trip and we'll take it."

Josh Reddick didn't have a hit Sunday, but walked twice and scored twice. He hit .306 during the road trip with three homers and seven RBIs.

Yoenis Cespedes had two hits and drove in a run Sunday, but hit .205 during the trip. A return home might help as he's batting .316 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 11 games in Oakland.

Brandon McCarthy (2-3, 2.96) will start Tuesday for Oakland to give rookie Jarrod Parker an extra day off.

McCarthy has a 2.18 ERA over his last three starts. He allowed one run in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-2 win at Boston on Wednesday for his second straight victory, although he's still looking for his first home win of 2012.

The right-hander is 3-2 with a 3.79 ERA against the Blue Jays.

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