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Blue Jays blank Rockies

The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- Colorado Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa allowed one hit in seven scoreless innings, but it was not good enough for a win Monday.

That's because Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Josh Johnson threw 7 1/3 shutout innings, striking out 10.

The game came down to the bullpens and utility player Maicer Izturis, who delivered a two-run single in the eighth inning, lifting the Blue Jays to a 2-0 win, their season-best sixth consecutive victory.

Izturis had two of Toronto's three hits in the game, including a sixth-inning single that ended De La Rosa's no-hit bid before a crowd of 20,946 at Rogers Centre.

De La Rosa picked up a bruised thumb during the game, though it did not deter him. He walked three and struck out four.

"He was pretty uncomfortable the last couple of innings he was out there, but he threw the ball well," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "I think it was just the way the ball was coming out of his hand, the seam or whatever, he ended up developing a bruise. It's not anything that's going to be an issue with his next start. It just made him uncomfortable tonight."

De La Rosa said, "In the second inning, I threw a two-seamer and I think the seam caught a bit, and that's why there was a little bruise. It was numb a little bit, for like two innings. It's no big deal. I think it will be good tomorrow."

Johnson, who is still looking for his first win in seven starts this season, held the Rockies to five hits and two walks.

Left-hander Brett Cecil (3-0) worked out of a jam in the eighth to earn the win. Casey Janssen pitched the ninth for his 15th save of the season, negating a walk with a double-play grounder that ended the game.

After spending a stint on the disabled list earlier this season due to an inflamed triceps, Johnson was pitching Monday with two extra days of rest to allow a blister to heal. He said the blister was not a factor against the Rockies.

"A great outing, it really was," manager John Gibbons said. "He had everything going on, a good live fastball. The ball had a lot of jump on it. (He had) a good breaking ball, and he was attacking pretty good."

Johnson said, "I was a lot more aggressive than the last outing. Trying to pound the zone, throw my slider, throw my curveball, work both sides of the plate, mostly in on the lefties. It worked out."

Rajai Davis led off the eighth with a single against right-hander Matt Belisle (4-4). Davis stole second, and Colby Rasmus walked. J.P. Arencibia's dribbler in front of the plate moved the runners to second and third, setting the stage for Izturis' decisive hit to left.

The Rockies who finished with five hits, were unable to respond.

"We had a couple of opportunities where we didn't capitalize," Weiss said.

A one-out double by DJ LeMahieu and a two-out walk to Michael Cuddyer put runners at the corners in the sixth, but Johnson ended the inning on Todd Helton's popup to shortstop.

Jonathan Herrera led off the top of the eighth with a single to left. Dexter Fowler walked after he twice failed to put down a sacrifice bunt. LeMahieu's sacrifice advanced the runners to second and third with one out, and Cecil took over from Johnson. His first pitch was lined to first by Carlos Gonzalez for the second out. Cuddyer was walked intentionally, and Helton ended the threat with a groundout to second.

"He's pitched as good as anybody down there," Gibbons said of Cecil. "He's dominated left-handed hitters, and so when Gonzalez comes to the plate, one of the premier run-producers in the game, it was kind of a no-brainer to me. And he also gets Helton."

Johnson said of Cecil, "He's been unbelievable, not just against lefties, either, righties, too. He has one of the best curveballs. It's hard and it just goes right down and he can throw it for strikes. The whole bullpen has been amazing."

The intentional walk to Cuddyer ended a string of 25 consecutive batters retired by Cecil dating to May 31.

"Maybe in the back of mind I thought maybe it could be this good," Cecil said. "But I'm still keeping the same mindset as I had coming into the season that you have something to prove to everybody and to yourself."

NOTES: Blue Jays RF Jose Bautista was moved to designated hitter in a late lineup change. Melky Cabrera, who was slated to be the DH, played left field, and Davis moved from left to right. Bautista also was DH on Sunday in Texas after he had leg cramps late in Saturday's game. ... Blue Jays SS Jose Reyes (sprained left ankle) went 2-for-3 and RHP Brandon Morrow (strained forearm) allowed five hits and three runs in two innings with Class A Dunedin on Monday, the first minor league rehab game for both players. ... Cuddyer singled in the second inning to extend his hitting streak to 15 games, tying his career best. It is the longest streak by a Colorado player this season. ... Gonzalez was named National League player of the week for June 10-16 after batting .476 (10-for-21) with three home runs and eight RBIs in six games. ... LHP Jeff Francis (2-4, 5.87 ERA) will start for the Rockies on Tuesday against Toronto RHP Esmil Rogers (2-2, 3.21 ERA).
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