As Rays leadoff man Ben Zobrist stepped into the batter's box, Jays ace Ricky Romero stepped purposefully off the back of the mound, bent and traced in the dirt with his finger the letters RJM.

Pausing to gather his thoughts, the emotional left-hander then stood and walked slowly to the top of the hill to begin the game. For Romero and catcher J.P. Arencibia, it was a personal tribute to a young Toronto friend, Ryley Martin, who had passed away earlier on Thursday.

Romero channelled that heartfelt human emotion over seven solid innings in a 3-2 victory over the Rays, earning a series split heading into interleague play. In fact, with the help of a double-play, Romero needed just 13 batters to record the first 13 outs, nursing a one-run lead before B.J. Upton smacked his seventh home run of the season to left centre with one out in the fifth.