No-No Reyes, not again

Blue Jays starter Jo-Jo Reyes pitches against the Astros at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ont., May...

Blue Jays starter Jo-Jo Reyes pitches against the Astros at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ont., May 20, 2011. (FRED THORNHILL/Reuters)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:33 PM ET

TORONTO - The drought, the agony continues for Jo-Jo Reyes.

Thanks to a two-run rally in the eighth against reliever Jon Rauch, Reyes has now gone 27 consecutive starts without a victory.

Rubbing salt into the wound, the Astros went on to win the game 5-2 thanks to a two-run bomb by Chris Johnson in the ninth against Frank Francisco.

Reyes hasn't won since beating the Los Angeles Angels back on June 13, 2008.

At this point you'd think you'd have to keep sharp objects away from Reyes, but the 26-year-old lefty remarkably remains upbeat.

"The goal out there is to get a quality start, tonight was a quality start and that's all I could do," Reyes said with a shrug.

The no-decision makes it nine starts and counting for Reyes as a Blue Jay.

The 27 starts and no wins is the longest stretch for a starter without a win since Anthony Young also went 27 starts between wins for the Mets and Cubs over the 1992-94 seasons.

If not now, then when? In some quarters the end of the world is predicted for today, beginning at 6 p.m. That doesn¹t leave Reyes any time.

Reyes, though, almost seems resigned to his fate. He has lost games every way imaginable and has had bullpens blow his leads before. He's seen it all, taken it all and keeps walking with his head held high.

"This baseball is a funny game and stuff's going to happen," he theorized.

"They're (the bullpen) going to pick me up one day and I'm going to have to thank them, so it all works out in the end." Reyes left the game with a 2-0 lead and the Jays bullpen needed six outs to make his W stick. They couldn't get it done.

In a scenario eerily similar to the game against Tampa on May 3, Rauch couldn't hold the lead.

In that game, Reyes departed with a 2-1 lead but in the ninth B.J. Upton hit a two-run homer off Rauch for the Tampa walk off win leaving Reyes with a no-decision.

Rauch didn't feel good then and he wasn't happy Friday.

With two out and nobody on, he had a 3-2 count against Michael Bourn. Rauch painted the outside corner at the knees and Bourn didn't swing. Rauch believed he had the punch-out but home-plate ump Brian Gorman called it a ball and Bourn trotted to first.

Disaster followed as Clint Barnes singled and Hunter Pence doubled off the wall in right to drive in both runs.

After retiring Carlos Lee for the final out, Rauch left the field barking at Gorman.

"It's part of the game and it's no excuse to not get the next guy out and the guy after that," Rauch said about his part. "Jo-Jo did a hell of a job today and gave us a real good chance to win that ball game and we let him down.

"He's had a great year and a string of bad luck." Reyes did his part as over his seven innings he held the Astros to five hits, walked one and struck out seven.

He has to be overflowing with frustration. Right?

"I'm not," he said, even managing a laugh. "I went out there and put up a quality start and gave the team a chance to win. That's all I can do."

Breakout plan?

The Jays came into Friday's game with a number of players trying to snap their oh-fors.

Leading the list was Reyes, of course, but among the position players the Jays roster contains three "regulars" who are still looking to hit their first home run of the season -- centre-fielder Rajai Davis, DH/3B/1B Edwin Encarnacion and 2B Aaron Hill.

Of the three, Hill's drought is the most perplexing as he hammered 36 in 2009 and even last year when he hit just .205, Hill drilled 26 homers and drove in 68 runs. Those are numbers the Jays would take in a heartbeat.

So far this season, Hill is hitting .252 in 27 games with nine extra-base hits -- all doubles -- and 16 RBIs. Since returning to the lineup May 8 after being on the disabled list with a right hamstring issue, Hill has gone 11-for-42 (.262) with five RBIs.

With Adam Lind on the disabled list with back pain, Hill has batted cleanup for three consecutive games.

Farrell believes the second baseman is coming out of his funk. In Friday¹s game there was no homer but Hill went 3-for-4, with two of his hits going for doubles.

"I thought he's been more relaxed in the box where he's not had the tendency to chase up above the strike zone," Farrell said. "With that relaxation comes increased bat speed, just because you're not so tense. And that's why we see the extra-base hits come a little more frequently." Farrell doesn't see signs of Hill pressing of late and he isn't overswinging like Encarnacion. Still, just like Reyes, he's aware of the number and it¹s a grind.

"What happens a lot of times, guys don't have a number in that column (home runs) and try to go out and hit home runs," Farrell said. "That's when they don't happen. I think it will be a sigh of relief when the first one happens for him and he can relax a little bit more." No sigh of relief occurred Friday, for Reyes or for Hill.


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