In their return home, the Toronto Blue Jays will seek to extend their longest win streak in two seasons while helping Josh Johnson register his first victory with the club.
After taking a couple extra days to heal a blister, Johnson will try to end his drought with another strong outing against the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.
After dropping the opener to a six-game trip, Toronto (32-36) responded by winning five in a row and completed a sweep of Texas with a 7-2 victory Sunday.
Colby Rasmus homered for the third straight game, and the red-hot Adam Lind had another three hits, including a three-run homer, in that win. Lind is batting .448 with five homers and 15 RBIs in his last 21 games.
The Blue Jays haven't won six in a row since May 10-16, 2011, and Johnson (0-2, 5.40 ERA) is seeking his first victory since Sept. 6. The right-hander has given up three or fewer runs in his two starts since a stint on the disabled list for inflammation in his pitching arm.
Johnson gave up three runs and a season-high four walks over five innings while dealing with a blister on his right middle finger June 9 against Texas. The Blue Jays' bullpen, however, blew a one-run lead in a 6-4 defeat and his next start was pushed back twice.
"They want to try and let (blister) completely heal so it doesn't become a problem," Gibbons told the team's website. It just makes sense to push him back. Get up there in the cool climate of (Toronto)."
That extra time off as well as a matchup with a more familiar opponent could help Johnson end a nine-start winless drought.
The right-hander spent his first eight seasons with Miami and went 2-1 with a 1.77 ERA in five starts against Colorado. That ERA represents his best as a starter against any team he's faced at least twice.
In his only interleague start this season, Johnson gave up two runs over seven innings in a 2-1 defeat in San Francisco. He has received 13 runs of support in his six outings this season.
His counterpart, Jorge De La Rosa (7-4, 3.49), had been given 55 runs in his first 13 starts of 2013 before getting none in a 5-1 loss to Washington on Wednesday.
The left-hander gave up three runs over 5 1-3 innings as his five-game winning streak ended. De La Rosa had a 2.76 ERA during that run and also dealt with a cut on his left middle finger in a 10-9 win against San Diego on June 7.
"He struggled through some of this outing and again in the end kept us close enough to win a game," manager Walt Weiss said. "He had to work pretty hard, threw a lot of pitches. Kept us in striking distance."
De La Rosa lost his only previous start against Toronto on April 11, 2007, and will try to lead Colorado (37-33) to its first three-game win streak since May 21-24.
Dexter Fowler went 1 for 4 in Sunday's 5-2 win in his return to the lineup. He left after being hit by a pitch Thursday and appeared as a pinch-runner Friday before sitting out Saturday.
Fowler is 4 for 6 with two doubles lifetime against Johnson.
The home team has won all 12 games between the teams, with Toronto sweeping three-game series in both 2002 and 2007.
|Jorge De La Rosa||4||.000||0||0||0||0||2||.000||.000||.000|
|June 14, 2013||Troy Tulowitzki||15-Day DL||Fractured rib, right ribcage|
|June 13, 2013||Troy Tulowitzki||Day-to-Day||Broken rib|
|June 13, 2013||Carlos Gonzalez||Day-to-Day||Bruised left foot|
|June 13, 2013||Dexter Fowler||Day-to-Day||Hand|
|June 11, 2013||Jorge De La Rosa||Day-to-Day||Cut on left middle finger|
|June 10, 2013||Edgmer Escalona||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|June 03, 2013||Ramon Ortiz||15-Day DL||Right elbow strain|
|June 02, 2013||Ramon Ortiz||Day-to-Day||Left game - right elbow|
|June 01, 2013||Brandon Morrow||15-Day DL||Right forearm strain|
|May 28, 2013||Brett Lawrie||15-Day DL||Left ankle sprain|
|May 28, 2013||Brett Lawrie||Day-to-Day||Ankle sprain|
|May 19, 2013||Darren Oliver||15-Day DL||Left shoulder strain|
TORONTO (AP) -- Josh Johnson took two extra days off to let a bothersome blister heal, then shut down the Colorado Rockies .
Maicer Izturis hit a two-run single in the eighth inning and the Toronto Blue Jays won their sixth consecutive game Monday night, beating Colorado 2-0 behind Johnson and two relievers.
"He had everything going on," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Good, live fastball, ball had a lot of jump on it, and a good breaking ball."
Johnson struck out a season-high 10 over 7 1-3 innings but remained winless in seven starts with Toronto, having received only 13 runs of support. He said the blister on the middle finger of his right hand, which developed during his June 9 start against Texas and twice delayed his next outing by a day, was not an issue.
"Definitely the most comfortable I've been," said Johnson, who also missed 31 games with a sore right triceps. "Just being able to get extension on all my pitches, not have to worry about the triceps or anything like that. It's definitely nice."
Johnson, who allowed five hits and walked two, lowered his ERA from 5.40 to 4.38.
"He's definitely got some of the best stuff in the game," Colorado's Michael Cuddyer said. "He's big, tall, throws hard. When he's throwing strikes like that, he can be tough. His fastball was getting on guys."
Brett Cecil (3-0) escaped an eighth-inning jam and Casey Janssen finished for his 14th save in 15 chances.
Izturis had two of Toronto's three hits as the Blue Jays won six straight for the first time since May 10-16, 2011.
Rajai Davis singled off reliever Matt Belisle (4-4) to start the eighth, just the second hit of the game for the Blue Jays. Davis stole second and Colby Rasmus walked, with both runners advancing on J.P. Arencibia's slow roller to the mound.
Izturis followed with a bloop single that dropped in front of left fielder Tyler Colvin , scoring both runners.
"He didn't hit it hard but he dunked it in the perfect spot," Gibbons said. "A nice read at second base by Rasmus there."
Cuddyer singled and walked twice for the Rockies, who went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position and lost for the fourth time in six games.
Colorado starter Jorge De La Rosa didn't allow a hit until Izturis singled with one out in the sixth. That was the only hit the left-hander allowed in seven shutout innings. He walked three and struck out four.
De La Rosa might have gone deeper, but had to pitch through soreness caused by a bruise on the tip of his thumb.
"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," De La Rosa said. "It was numb a little bit, for like two innings."
De La Rosa had pitched with a cut on his middle finger in his previous two starts.
"My hand hates me," he joked.
Colorado manager Walt Weiss said De La Rosa's thumb issue was not considered serious.
"It's not anything that's going to be an issue with his next start," Weiss said. "It just made him uncomfortable tonight."
The Rockies had several chances to score, but couldn't deliver. Cuddyer extended his hitting streak to 15 games, tying a career high, with a leadoff single in the second. Todd Helton followed with a single, sending Cuddyer to third, but Johnson struck out Wilin Rosario and Colvin, then got Nolan Arenado to fly out.
Arenado ended a streak of 11 straight outs with a two-out double in the fifth, but Jonathan Herrera grounded out.
D.J. LeMahieu hit a one-out double in the sixth and went to third on a grounder by Carlos Gonzalez . Cuddyer walked but Helton ended the threat by popping out.
Herrera singled to begin the eighth and Dexter Fowler walked before both runners advanced on LeMahieu's sacrifice. Cecil replaced Johnson and got Gonzalez to line out sharply to first. Cuddyer was intentionally walked to bring up Helton, who grounded out.
NOTES: The home team has won all 13 meetings between these clubs, dating to 2002. Colorado is 0-7 at Rogers Centre. ... Toronto SS Jose Reyes (left ankle) went 2 for 3 in five innings of a rehab game with Class-A Dunedin. RHP Brandon Morrow (forearm) started for Dunedin, allowing three runs and five hits in two innings. ... Toronto slugger Jose Bautista was slated to start in RF but switched to DH. Bautista left Saturday's game at Texas because of leg cramps, and started at DH on Sunday. Davis replaced Bautista, and Melky Cabrera moved from DH to LF. ... Carlos Gonzalez started at DH for the Rockies. ... Weiss said the team would make an announcement Tuesday regarding RHP Roy Oswalt , who signed a minor league contract with the Rockies on May 2.