Struggling Rockies lose 5-2 to Blue Jays
TORONTO— Life without All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki isn’t going too well for the Colorado Rockies.
Adam Lind hit a three-run home run, Mark Buehrle won his second straight start and the Toronto Blue Jays earned their eighth consecutive victory Wednesday, beating the Rockies 5-2 to complete a three-game sweep.
Colorado lost for the sixth time in eight games and has dropped four of six since Tulowitzki landed on the disabled list with a broken rib. He’s expected to miss four to six weeks.
“You want to have that guy back, you want to have that guy in the lineup every time you’re playing,” outfielder Carlos Gonzalez said. “Right now we have to go without him and continue to play baseball and try to play good.”
The Rockies never led in the series that kicked off a nine-game, three-city trip. They visit Washington for four games starting Thursday, then get a day off before finishing with two at Fenway Park in Boston.
“It’s definitely not the way we wanted to start (the road trip), but it’s in the past and we’ve got to move on,” Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba said.
Gonzalez hit a solo homer, his NL-leading 21st, but the Rockies made two errors that led to a pair of unearned runs.
“This series, we didn’t play good baseball at all,” Gonzalez said.
The Blue Jays, meanwhile, are suddenly playing their best baseball of the season. The eight-game streak is Toronto’s longest since a 10-game run in late 2008.
“Everything is clicking right now for us,” Buehrle said. “I can’t pinpoint why everything is clicking, but we’re getting a big hit, getting a big pitch when we need to, guys are playing great defense behind us. I don’t know what’s happening but hopefully (we) continue it as long as we can.”
Toronto is still last in the AL East, but is within one game of .500 at 35-36. The Blue Jays will host Baltimore on Friday, the first of 10 consecutive games against division opponents.
Buehrle (4-4) allowed two runs and eight hits in five innings of the interleague game. The left-hander, who walked one and struck out four, failed to pitch at least six innings for the first time since April 25.
“There were just a lot of pitches I got away with today,” 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.”
Neil Wagner pitched the sixth, Brett Cecil worked the seventh, Steve Delabar handled the eighth and Casey Janssen finished for his 16th save in 17 chances.
Toronto’s bullpen has pitched 24 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.
“Right now they’re on some kind of roll,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
No one is on more of a roll than Cecil. The lefty has retired 38 batters without allowing a hit, the longest streak in Blue Jays history. David Cone retired 36 straight batters without giving up a hit in 1995.
In the 15 times the Blue Jays and Rockies have played, the visiting team has never won. Toronto also swept Colorado in 2002 and 2007, while the Blue Jays were swept at Coors Field in 2006 and 2010.
Lind gave the Blue Jays an early lead against Colorado starter Juan Nicasio. Jose Bautista reached on third baseman Nolan Arenado’s throwing error in the first, Edwin Encarnacion followed with a single and Lind hammered a changeup to right for his ninth homer.
“It didn’t move at all, it just stayed flat,” Torrealba said of the pitch Lind hit out. “It looked more like a BP fastball, to be honest with you.”
The Rockies got one back in the second when Jordan Pacheco hit a leadoff double and scored on Torrealba’s single.
Toronto took advantage of another Rockies error to make it 4-1 in the fourth. Colby Rasmus drew a leadoff walk and Maicer Izturis was safe when second baseman D.J. LeMahieu couldn’t handle a potential double play grounder. Rasmus went to third on the play and scored on Emilio Bonifacio’s grounder.
Gonzalez made it 4-2 with a leadoff homer in the fifth, his NL-leading 44th extra base hit. Gonzalez also hit a two-out double in the ninth.
Nicasio (4-3) allowed four runs (two earned) and four hits in five innings. The right-hander, who has not won in six starts, walked one and struck out three.
“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.”
Toronto added an insurance run off reliever Rob Scahill in the seventh. Munenori Kawasaki hit a one-out triple and scored when Melky Cabrera singled through the drawn-in infield.