Patchwork Blue Jays staff blanks Braves

Guy Curtright, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- Esmil Rogers, getting a spot start for Toronto, didn't make it out of the fourth inning Wednesday night, but that was all right. The Blue Jays' retooled bullpen took it from there.
Rogers and three relievers combined to hold Atlanta to four hits, and Toronto snapped the Braves' seven-game home winning streak with a 3-0 victory.
Juan Perez (1-0) struck out four without allowing a baserunner in 2 2/3 innings. Neil Wagner gave up just one hit over two innings in his Blue Jays debut, and Casey Janssen closed out the shutout with a perfect ninth, picking up his 11th save.
Perez and Wagner were both promoted from Triple-A Buffalo on Wednesday with the Blue Jays in need of fresh arms.
"We needed those guys to come through for us, and that's what they did," Toronto manager John Gibbons said.
The shutout was just the second of the year for the Blue Jays and came thanks to a fill-in starter and two relievers just up from the minors.
"You tip your hat to those guys," Gibbons said. "They all stepped up against a real good hitting team."
But one that strikes out a lot. The Braves fanned 11 times, reaching double figures in that dubious category for the 24th time in 52 games.
Freddie Freeman had a triple and a single to account for half of the Braves' hits.
"They brought in one guy, then another and another," Freeman said. "It's hard when you are facing different pitchers that you don't know."
Melky Cabrera went 3-for-3 with a walk and drove in two runs for the Blue Jays. Edwin Encarnacion finished 3-for-4 with a walk.
Cabrera struggled through a difficult year with the Braves in 2010, but he has tormented his former team since. He is hitting .415 (17-for-41) against them with seven extra-base hits and six RBIs in 12 games.
The Blue Jays knew their bullpen would get a lot of work, but it turned out that the Braves were in for a similar situation. Kris Medlen (1-6) pitched just two innings after being hit by a comeback liner on his left leg.
Rogers, making his first start after 22 relief appearances for the Blue Jays, allowed three hits over 3 1/3 innings. The right-hander struck out four and walked two, throwing 62 pitches.
Rogers was the 11th pitcher to start for the Blue Jays with the season less than two months old. That is two short of the team record and ties the Baltimore Orioles for the most in the majors this year.
Medlen, hit on the back of his left leg below the knee by Emilio Bonifacio's liner with one out in the second, allowed Toronto's three runs and four hits in his abbreviated outing.
"I've been hit by a lot of balls, but that was one of the harder ones," Medlen said.
After throwing a couple of practice pitches, Medlen finished the inning. However, he allowed a four-pitch walk immediately after being hit and later a two-run single by Cabrera before being replaced by reliever David Carpenter at the start of the third inning.
Medlen suffered a upper calf contusion and is expected to be able to make his next start as scheduled Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Cabrera, who singled to open the game, scored when the Braves couldn't turn a double play to end the first inning. His two-out, second-inning single gave the Blue Jays a three-run lead.
Freeman tripled and Brian McCann walked in the bottom of the inning, but Rogers worked out of the jam.
"It felt good," Rogers said of his spot start. "I tried to make my pitches and give my teammates the opportunity to win the game."
Four Braves relievers allowed four hits and no runs over the final seven innings, with Jordan Walden, just off the disabled list, pitching a perfect eighth with two strikeouts. However, the damage had been done.
NOTES: The Braves activated Walden from the disabled list and optioned RHP Cory Rasmus to Triple-A Gwinnett. Walden, who worked a perfect inning for Gwinnett on Monday in his only rehab game, hadn't pitched for the Braves since May 11 because of shoulder inflammation. ... Blue Jays 3B Brett Lawrie, who sprained his left ankle stealing second base against the Braves in Toronto on Monday, was placed on the disabled list retroactive to Tuesday. He was batting .209 with five homers and 14 RBIs in 37 games. ... Toronto reinforced its bullpen by promoting Wagner, Perez and RHP Todd Redmond from Buffalo. ... The Blue Jays designated RHP Ramon Ortiz for assignment and optioned RHP Thad Weber to Buffalo. ... Braves RHP Brandon Beachy, coming back from Tommy John elbow surgery, allowed three hits over five scoreless innings for Class A Rome on Wednesday in his second minor league rehab start. He struck out three and walked one, throwing 68 pitches.

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