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Jays’ Romero struggles for consistency with Buffalo Bisons

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Ricky Romero sits in the dugout after being removed during the first inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, in St. Petersburg, Fla.

MIKE CARLSON/AP

Ricky Romero showed small signs of improvement in his third start before enduring a troublesome finish and the triple-A Buffalo Bisons defeated the Charlotte Knights 8-7 in 10 innings on Tuesday.

Romero walked all four batters he faced in the sixth inning — three of which scored — after he allowed just four hits and two walks through five innings. He did not factor into the decision as the Bisons beat Charlotte in extra innings.

The lefthander, optioned to Buffalo by the Toronto Blue Jays on May 10 after two ineffective major league starts, threw 47 of 96 pitches for strikes, a ratio hindered by recording only four strikes in his 20-pitch sixth inning.

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Dustin McGowan, another erstwhile Toronto starter, made a rehab appearance and retired one of the five batters he faced in the seventh inning. He allowed three runs on two hits and two walks.

Romero has allowed 35 baserunners (18 hits and 17 walks) in 12 1-3 innings with Buffalo while striking out three. His triple-A earned-run average fell to 8.76.

Tuesday marked the second time in six pro starts this season that Romero logged at least five innings. He went seven frames in his season debut for single-A Dunedin on April 27.

Buffalo led 7-2 when Romero was replaced, but Romero battled inconsistency throughout, retiring the first two batters only to have the third batter reach base In four of the first five innings.

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