Jays top Rockies to win seventh straight

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Esmil Rogers (R) congratulates teammate Edwin Encarnacion in the...

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Esmil Rogers (R) congratulates teammate Edwin Encarnacion in the dugout after he hit a two-run home run against the Colorado Rockies in the fifth inning of their MLB Interleague baseball game in Toronto June 18, 2013. (REUTERS)

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:05 PM ET

TORONTO - What a difference a year can make.

A year ago last week, after trying to convert his obvious talent into big-league material for four seasons, the Colorado Rockies gave up on Esmil Rogers, selling him to the Cleveland Indians for cash.

Who could blame them? In 184.2 innings of work spread over four seasons, Rogers had a 6.77 ERA. In 23 games in 2012 alone, he had allowed 36 hits and 18 walks in 25.2 innings.

Tuesday, the Rockies got to see the polished product they always hoped was there. Unfortunately for Colorado, they were looking at the wrong end of that live arm, as Rogers, now firmly planted in the Blue Jay rotation, held them hitless into the sixth inning on his way to an 8-3 victory, Toronto's seventh in a row.

It's the longest Blue Jay winning streak since they won 10 in a row in early September of 2008 and pulled them to within two victories of a .500 record, something that seemed a remote possibility as recently as June 1 when they were 10 games under .500.

Unlike the evening previous when the Jays broke open a tense ballgame with the only two runs of the game in the eighth inning, they scored early and often in this one against Canadian lefty Jeff Francis, lighting him up for six hits and four runs in the first inning alone. The only drama as the game unfolded was how long it would take for Rogers, traded to Toronto by the Indians in the offseason, to give up a hit and it finally happened in the sixth inning.

Edwin Encarnacion did the most damage among the Blue Jay hitters, driving in three runs with a double and his 19th homer, a two-run shot. J.P. Arencibia also doubled and homered. Maicer Izturis also homered for Toronto which pounded out 11 hits.

The Blue Jays wasted not one second in climbing up one side of Francis and down the other. After Rogers had set down the Rockies in order in the top of the first, Melky Cabrera led off the bottom half with a single up the middle. Francis got Bautista on a groundout that moved Cabrera up a base and then Encarnacion drilled a double off the centre field wall that scored Cabrera.

Adam Lind sent Encarnacion scampering home with a single to centre and Mark DeRosa followed with another line-drive double off the wall in left. With runners at second and third, Rajai Davis singled to left, scoring Lind.

On the back end of that same play, third base coach DeMarlo Hale tried to send De Rosa home as well but the baserunner stopped after rounding the bag and couldn't scramble back to the bag in time to avoid the tag for the second out. Arencibia then delivered Davis to the plate with Toronto's fourth run of the inning on the third double of the game.

After that first inning outburst, Francis retired 11 batters in a row until Cabrera's one-out single in the fifth. Another out later, Encarnacion unloaded his 19th homer of the year to make it 6-0.

Meanwhile, Rogers was dealing. The only baserunners through five innings among his old teammates came with one out in the second inning. Catcher Willin Rosario reached on a throwing error by third baseman DeRosa and then Todd Helton, the next batter, walked. Helton was wiped out on a third-to-second-to-first inning-ending double play.

With one out in the sixth inning Colorado's No. 9 hitter, Jonathan Herrera ripped a groundball single up the middle to end the no-hit bid.

The Blue Jays continued to add on in the sixth when, with two out, Arencibia and Maicer Izturis hit back-to-back home runs, a first for the Jays this season.

With the score 8-0, the Rockies finally got to Rogers in the seventh, combining a double by Carlos Gonzalez with a single by Michael Cuddyer and then an RBI single by Rosario for the first run and a groundout by Arenado to score Cuddyer with the second.

That was it for Rogers, whose line ended up not looking nearly as good as he pitched, after Izturis' error on what should have been an inning-ending groundball, allowed a third run to score.

Rogers went 6.2 innings, allowed three runs, two earned on four hits and a walk. He struck out five and has clearly now found himself a spot in the rotation after being pressed into that position because of injuries to other Toronto pitchers.


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