Blue Jays extend winning streak to eight

The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- Mark Buehrle readily admitted that he got away with some pitches on Wednesday.

He wasn't so fortunate earlier in the season and that's the difference for the Toronto Blue Jays right now. Things are clicking.

With Adam Lind supplying three runs with a first-inning home run, Buehrle was able to win his second straight start as the Blue Jays defeated the Colorado Rockies 5-2 to extend their season-best win streak to eight games.

"Today there were a lot of pitches I got away with," Buehrle said. "Earlier in the season that wasn't happening. Those pitches were getting hit for home runs and getting us down in a hole early."

The Blue Jays (35-36) completed a three-game sweep of the Rockies (37-36) before a crowd of 27,235 at Rogers Centre, where Colorado is 0-9 in three interleague series. Toronto is 0-6 at Colorado.

The Blue Jays moved to within one game of .500 for the first time since April 15, when they were 6-7.

Buehrle (4-4) pitched five innings and allowed two runs and eight hits, including a home run by Carlos Gonzalez. It was Buehrle's shortest outing since April 10, when he lasted 4 1/3 innings.

"He was being Mark Buehrle," Gonzalez said. "He's a guy who's going to throw a lot of strikes, attack the strike zone, make you chase bad pitches whenever he gets ahead in the count."

"It was a battle for him tonight. It was a gutsy outing," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He wasn't on and the ball was up a little bit today but he did what he does best. He makes the pitch when he has to, he keeps them off balance. He throws anything at any time."

Rockies right-hander Juan Nicasio (4-3) allowed four hits and four runs (two earned) in five innings.

"I thought Juan did a good job," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "A couple of tough breaks behind him but I thought he pitched well."

The Rockies had their chances but stranded 10 runners while the Blue Jays left five.

The Blue Jays took a 3-0 lead in the first on Lind's ninth homer of the season after Jose Bautista reached on a throwing error by third baseman Nolan Arenado and Edwin Encarnacion singled.

"It didn't move at all, it just stayed flat," Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba said of the home run pitch on a 2-1 count. "It looked more like a BP fastball, to be honest with you. It's definitely not the way we wanted to start, but it's in the past and we've got to move on."

"Getting those three runs early was a big help," Buehrle said. "You can kind of relax and you know if you make a mistake and give up a home run you've still got a lead. It was big to get those runs."

"It's always tough to play from behind, particularly on the road," Weiss said.

The Rockies scored one in the second on a double by Jordan Pacheco and a single by Torrealba.

The Blue Jays tacked on an unearned run in the fourth. Colby Rasmus led off with a walk, took third on an error by second baseman DJ LeMahieu and scored when the Rockies could not complete the double play on Emilio Bonifacio's grounder to shortstop.

Gonzalez got that run back when he led off the fifth with his 21st homer of the season. Wilin Rosario's double and an error at shortstop by Munenori Kawasaki put runners at the corners with two out before Buehrle struck out Tyler Colvin to end the inning.

Right-hander Neil Wagner took over for Toronto in the sixth. He was followed by left-hander Brett Cecil, who retired all three hitters in the seventh to set a club record of 38 consecutive batters without allowing a hit.

The previous mark was 36 set by David Cone between June 11-17, 1995.

"I didn't even know it was a record, it's still sinking in," said Cecil, who has not allowed a hit since May 28 and has pitched 17 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings. "It is what it is, I'm not here to break records I want to win a World Series."

The Blue Jays increased their lead to 5-2 in the seventh against right-hander Rob Scahill on a triple by Kawasaki and a single by Melky Cabrera.

After Steve Delabar pitched the eighth, Casey Janssen pitched the ninth to earn his 16th save.

NOTES: RF Michael Cuddyer extended his hitting streak to a career-best 17 games with a first-inning single. ... The Rockies assigned RHP Collin McHugh to Double-A Tulsa after acquiring him in a trade late Tuesday with the New York Mets for OF Eric Young Jr., designated for assignment last week. ... Blue Jays bench coach DeMarlo Hale filled in for the second game in a row for third base coach Luis Rivera, who is attending his daughter's graduation. ... An MRI on RHP Brandon Morrow (right forearm strain) showed only inflammation. He will not throw until it clears up. He felt discomfort after his first rehabilitation outing with Class A Dunedin on Monday. ... The Blue Jays have Thursday off before the Baltimore Orioles visit for a three-game series. Toronto will start RHP R.A. Dickey (6-8, 4.90 ERA) on Friday while the Orioles will counter with RHP Jason Hammel (7-4, 5.24 ERA). ... The Rockies open a four-game series in Washington on Thursday, sending out RHP Roy Oswalt for his first start of the season, against Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann (9-3, 2.44 ERA).
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