TORONTO - Alex Rios had mixed emotions about breaking up former teammate Ricky Romero's no-hit effort.
Romero became the latest Toronto pitcher to take a no-hit try into the late innings, losing his bid in the eighth when Rios homered in the Blue Jays’ 4-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on 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.”
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.”
Rios spent most of last year with Toronto before Chicago claimed him off waivers in August. It was his second homer this season.
A pitching staff that lost ace Roy Halladay in the offseason again came close to a no-hit gem. Shaun Marcum held Texas hitless for 6 innings on opening day before Vladimir Guerrero singled in the seventh. There has been one no-hitter in Toronto history, by Dave Stieb in 1990.
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.
After the homer, Romero turned toward center field, put his hands on his knees and spit. He lowered his head and shouted as Rios circled the bases to a chorus of boos.
After Rios crossed home plate, the crowd of 12,167 gave Romero a standing ovation.