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Gregor Chisholm: Canadian Romano debuts, Tellez launches slam in Jays’ win over Orioles

Gregor Chisholm: Canadian Romano debuts, Tellez launches slam in Jays’ win over Orioles
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Jordan Romano has been through a wide range of emotions over the last six months, but the highs from Wednesday night will surely overshadow any of his previous lows.

Romano struck out the first two batters he faced and helped the Blue Jays come away with an 8-6 victory over the Orioles in his major-league debut. The native of Markham became the 28th Canadian-born player to appear in a game for the Blue Jays as he delivered a scoreless seventh inning.

The rookie right-hander did his job, but hardly anyone else in the bullpen did. Toronto needed four relievers over the final two innings and the Orioles had the tying run in scoring position when Chance Sisco struck with two runners on in the bottom of the ninth.

Toronto promoted Romano from Triple-A Buffalo earlier in the day after closer Ken Giles was placed on the 10-day injured list with right elbow inflammation. The 26-year-old Romano recently transitioned to the bullpen and it led to an uptick in velocity, with Romano topping out at 99 m.p.h. vs. Baltimore.

It wasn’t that long ago this moment in a Blue Jays uniform seemed impossible. Romano was taken by Texas after Toronto left him exposed in December’s Rule 5 draft. Romano hoped to crack the Rangers bullpen out of spring training, but instead he was offered back to the Blue Jays and opened the year as a starter in Buffalo.

Toronto snapped a five-game losing streak in Romano’s debut and a breakout night from a struggling offence was the main reason. Rowdy Tellez became the first rookie in franchise history to hit two grand slams in the same season and five players in the starting lineup finished with at least two hits.

The much-maligned Edwin Jackson came through with five relatively strong innings. Jackson initially was listed as the starter, but Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo instead used reliever Derek Law as an opener for a scoreless first. Jackson entered in the second, scattered four hits and a pair of walks while allowing two runs in the 400th appearance of his career.

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