The feeling in Toronto is completely different. Not long ago, Blue Jays fans were convinced that a game was lost after a starter gives up a couple of runs in the second, but today, many of us were convinced that the Blue Jays were going to win after the batters started the game with four runs in the first. The batters are hitting and the pitchers are dominating. Winning is fun... but it is a bit weird!
After an 8-3 win over the Rockies, the blue birds of Toronto have now won seven straight games, the 21st time in franchise history that they have done so. The Blue Jays are still in last place in the American League East, but are now two games under .500 at 34-36 (.486). And no, you're still not allowed to watch the standings yet, GatorJay.
Starter Esmil Rogers was fantastic. He was no-hitting the Rockies through one out in the sixth inning before Jonathan Herrera broke it up with a clean single up the middle. He had 1-2-3 innings in the first, third, fourth, and fifth. Rogers allowed three straight hits to start the seventh leading to a couple of runs before he was relieved to a standing ovation from the 22,852 fans at the park. The final line for Rogers looks good, but he pitched better: 6.2 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 H, 5 K, 1 BB, 89 pitches, 55 strikes. I must admit I was very skeptical when the club announced that the were going to convert Rogers into a starter to fill in for all the holes in the rotation, but he now has had two very good starts in a row.
Rogers, Aaron Loup, Darren Oliver, and Steve Delabar combined to limit the Rockies to just four hits.
Overall the pitching during this winning streak has been stupendous, giving up just 12 runs in the 64 innings good for a 1.69 ERA. And the shutdown pitching has led to some short games: tonight's went 2:20, and all but the first win of the streak were played in three hours or less (and that first game was a 10-inning affair). Mark Buehrle takes the mound tomorrow night, so it looks like it just might be another short one.
The Blue Jays weren't shabby at the plate either! As mentioned above, the Jays jumped to an early lead off of Canadian Jeff Francis. Melky Cabrera led off with a single, Jose Bautista grounded out, then the Jays strung together five straight base hits (Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind, Mark DeRosa, Rajai Davis, and J.P. Arencibia) and scored four runs without a homer.
That first inning featured a curious play: when Davis singled to Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, DeRosa rounded third to try to score from second but then stopped and tried to run back to third when he saw that Gonzalez had gotten to the ball and was going to throw him out. It didn't look like he should have even tried to score, but interim third base coach DeMarlo Hale waved him in all the way (usual coach Luis Rivera is off at his son's graduation). It didn't end up mattering, but it gave Cargo his major league-leading ninth outfield assist.
After the four-run first, the very hittable Jeff Francis disappeared and the crafty Jeff Francis took the mound to shut down 10-straight Blue Jays until Cabrera singled in the fifth. A batter later, Encarnacion hit a homer that left the park rather quickly. Toronto tacked on a couple more runs on back-to-back homers by Arencibia and Maicer Izturis in the sixth. It was Arencibia's 15th and Izturis's fourth. Surprisingly, that was the first back-to-back homer for the 2013 Blue Jays.
Jose Bautista and Emilio Bonifacio were the only starters without a hit.
Jays of the Day! Rogers (+.200), Encarnacion (+.138)
Suckage Jays: None.