Rockies-Blue Jays Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated June 16, 2013
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.
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