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TB@OAK: Griffin fans six Rays over seven innings

As far as disastrous starts go, Ricky Romero knows what they feel like. It was less than two weeks ago that the left-hander gave up eight runs on four hits and six walks in just 1 1/3 innings en route to a 16-0 loss for his Blue Jays.

The team that piled up the runs? That would be the A's. Romero will get another crack at them, though, when he makes the start Saturday in Oakland. And manager John Farrell believes the spacious Coliseum could help Romero this time around.

"This is a forgiving ballpark," Farrell said. "I think it's a great weapon for teams. Pitching conditions like this, especially when you can transition young pitchers in, that you can get away from a mislocated pitch from time to time. And that habit and that confidence carries over when you get out of this ballpark."

Romero could use some help, as he has dropped seven straight decisions and his once impressive 8-1 record is now at .500. Some of that has been poor run support, as he has lost 1-0 and 2-0 decisions, but there have also been three outings in which he allowed eight earned runs.

On the flip-side is Oakland's A.J. Griffin, who happily accepted all 16 of the runs in support of a six-inning, three-hit performance. He also struck out nine.

Griffin will be making his eighth-career start, but has already made history in his short Major League experience. The right-hander is the first Athletics pitcher since at least 1918 to begin his career by tossing six or more innings while allowing three runs or fewer in each of his first seven starts. He is also the first A's pitcher to start his career 3-0 since Rich Harden did it in 2003.

A's: Face a bevy of lefties
• Seven of the last 11 times the A's have faced a left-hander, they've lost the game. They might want to turn around those fortunes if they hope to have a successful run in the near future. The A's face three straight lefties, starting with Romero on Saturday.

• The A's are 15-5 since the All-Star break, which is the best record in the American League. The Reds (18-3) are the only Major League team with a better record.

Blue Jays: Walks before runs
Offense has been a major issue for the Blue Jays, who have scored just 12 runs in their last six games. Farrell believes walks are the key issue, as the team has just seven in the last four games.

"Walks are a byproduct of good hitters, and being able to square up pitches in the strike zone early in the count," Farrell said. "Then, to have the awareness that pitchers are going to pitch a little bit more carefully to them at times. But there's no denying the fact that we haven't helped our self with men on base via the walk."

Worth noting
The Blue Jays' six-game losing streak is their longest of the season. The last time they lost seven consecutive games was part of a nine-game losing streak from May 19-27, 2009. Comments