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Somber Twins can't overcome Romero, Jays

MINNEAPOLIS -- After a somber day left the Minnesota Twins struggling for words, they didn't show much fight against Ricky Romero and the Toronto Blue Jays.

Romero pitched 8 2-3 innings, Jose Bautista homered and the Blue Jays beat Minnesota 2-0 on Friday night.

Twins starter Carl Pavano stumbled through 5 1-3 innings -- throwing 115 pitches -- but left without allowing a run. He gave up seven hits and walked three.

"Seventy-five pitches after three innings," Pavano said. "That's definitely not how you want to go out and start a ballgame and try to get the momentum on your side.

"I don't think I executed that many good pitches and I think I affected the team from the first inning on. It kind of puts them in a little bit of a lull."

The Twins learned earlier in the day that former star Harmon Killebrew was preparing for the final days of his life and no longer planned to fight his esophageal cancer.

Killebrew's No. 3 jersey hung in the dugout, where it will stay for the remainder of the season. Video messages from Bert Blyleven, Tony Oliva and Justin Morneau were played on the big screen before the first pitch.

"I never watched him play," Twins right fielder Michael Cuddyer said of Killebrew before the game. "The only way I do know him is as a mentor, as a genuine person. He was a father figure to pretty much everybody he met. That says it all."

Romero took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Denard Span slapped a single past a diving John McDonald with two outs in the sixth to break up the no-hit bid.

"You go up there and you say, 'Well, you've got to jump on the first pitch,' and he's got 40 pitches in the eight innings or whatever it is," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You tell yourself to stay back and you're behind 0-2. He was tough."

Toronto had no trouble getting on base against Twins starter Carl Pavano, but couldn't capitalize with runs.

Pavano had allowed at least seven runs in three of his last four starts and it looked like the Blue Jays would add to ledger.

Pavano allowed a single and two walks in the first, but got out of the bases-loaded jam. The Blue Jays stranded 10 runners through six innings and forced Pavano to exit after 5 1-3 innings and 115 pitches.

"That was no better than my last two starts, to be honest with you," Pavano said."

Toronto left 14 men on base.

"It's a good thing (Romero) was so effective because we had so many opportunities that we created," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "We created a lot of opportunities but were unable to cash in. The fact that he was so strong and so efficient made those missed opportunities not loom so large."

Alex Burnett (0-2) was the losing pitcher after relieving Pavano. Burnett stranded two runners in relief of Pavano, but gave up a two singles and a walk to start the seventh with Juan Rivera's single scoring Corey Patterson.

"He goes back out the second inning and gets himself right in trouble," Gardenhire said. "You've got to carry that over."

Not even the return of outfielder Delmon Young could spark the reeling Twins' offense. Minnesota entered Friday with a .231 team batting average and 17 home runs.

The Twins have the worst record in baseball and have lost six straight and 12 of their last 15.

Romero -- who was the opposing pitcher in Justin Verlander's no-hitter on May 7 -- allowed four hits, struck out eight and walked three. He was one out away from his second career shutout.

"We've been wearing out our bullpen this first month," Romero said. "Talking to the starters, we're going to carry a little chip and try to go seven, eight, nine innings. That's our goal every time we go out there."

Frank Francisco came on and struck out Cuddyer to notch his third save in four chances.

Rivera's single in the seventh scored Corey Patterson from second base and finally put the Blue Jays on the board.

Bautista smashed his 12th home run in the eighth to make it 2-0. The slugger was 3 for 4 and has reached base in 29 of 30 games this season.

The Blue Jays have won 10 of their last 12 against the Twins and four of their last five at Target Field.

NOTES: Tsuyoshi Nishioka had an X-ray on Thursday that showed healing in his broken left leg. He's taking batting practice and doing agility drills at Minnesota's minor league complex in Fort Myers, Fla. ... Joe Mauer took batting practice with the Twins on Friday, another small step back in his recovery from bilateral leg weakness. ... The Twins optioned OF Rene Tosoni to Triple-A Rochester to make room for Young. ... The Blue Jays announced the death of Mel Queen on Friday. Queen joined the Blue Jays staff in 1986 and served as farm director, minor league pitching instructor and pitching coach before being named player development senior adviser in 1998. Queen was pitching coach when Pat Hentgen and Roger Clemens won Cy Young awards with Toronto. Queen is also credited with developing Roy Halladay.